Monday, Nov 28

Ford Performance NASCAR: Elimination Races Set For This Weekend at Martinsville Speedway

FORD PERFORMANCE NASCAR: MARTINSVILLE

A pair of elimination races are scheduled for this weekend at Martinsville Speedway as the NASCAR Cup and NASCAR Xfinity Series set their respective Championship 4 participants.  Ford’s Joey Logano has already clinched a Cup Series spot after his win in Las Vegas while Ryan Blaney and Chase Briscoe still have a chance to join him as three spots remain available.  Here’s a look at how each driver stands going into Sunday’s race.

 

This Week’s Schedule:

Saturday, October 29 – NASCAR Xfinity Series, 3 p.m. ET (NBC)

Sunday, October 30 – NASCAR Cup Series, 2 p.m. ET (NBC)

 

FORD IN THE NASCAR CUP SERIES AT MARTINSVILLE

  • Ford has 30 series wins at Martinsville Speedway.
  • Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano are active drivers with Ford wins at the track.
  • Logano’s Martinsville victory came in the 2018 playoffs.

 

ROUND OF 8 NCS PLAYOFF STANDINGS (Top 4 advance after Martinsville)

  1. Joey Logano    (Clinched: Las Vegas Winner)
  2. Ryan Blaney                                       -18
  3. Chase Briscoe                                     -44     

 

FORD IN THE NASCAR XFINITY SERIES AT MARTINSVILLE

  • Ford has 1 series win at Martinsville Speedway.
  • Kenny Wallace has that lone series win (1994).

 

LOGANO LIKES MARTINSVILLE

No track on the NASCAR Cup Series circuit has been better for Joey Logano when it comes to qualifying than Martinsville Speedway.  Logano enters this weekend with an average starting position of 7.8, which is his best among all tracks in which he has more than 10 starts.  He has five poles, including three in a row in 2015-16, and had an active streak of 18 straight top-10 starts (including races where qualifying was rained out) until he qualified 14th in the spring.  In 27 career races at the half-mile short track, Logano has an average finishing position of 11.7 and has been running at the finish of every event, including the spring event when he came home second.

 

IS MARTINSVILLE BLANEY’S BEST?

Even though Ryan Blaney does not have a NASCAR Cup Series win in 13 starts at Martinsville Speedway, it’s still a place where he has a lot of confidence.  Look no further than the fact that he’s had an average finishing position of 10.2, which is a personal best on tracks he’s had more than five starts.  Blaney has six top-5 and seven top-10 efforts, including a fourth-place effort in the spring, and a pair of runner-up finishes in 2020.  He enters Sunday’s elimination race in sixth place and is 18 points behind the final Championship 4 transfer spot.

 

BRISCOE IN NEED OF A WIN

Chase Briscoe knows what he needs to do in order to make his first Championship 4 appearance and that’s a win Sunday at Martinsville Speedway.  The Stewart-Haas driver is in eighth place and finds himself 44 points out of the final Championship 4 berth.  Briscoe has made three NASCAR Cup Series starts at Martinsville and is coming off a ninth place finish in the spring, which marked his best performance at the half-mile track.  Overall, Briscoe has made only six starts in all three of NASCAR’s top series combined (3 Cup, 1 NXS, and 2 NCWTS).

 

Martinsville Highlights

 

BOWYER NETS FIRST FORD WIN

Clint Bowyer snapped a 190-race winless stretch by leading the final 114 laps to win the weather-delayed STP 500 in 2018.  The win was Bowyer’s first with Ford and ninth of his career.  He passed Ryan Blaney on lap 285 to gain the lead for the first time, and when Jamie McMurray brought out the caution 100 laps later after hitting the wall, Bowyer’s pit crew got him back out with the lead and that proved to be the difference.  That capped a big day for Ford, which had five drivers finish in the Top 10 and saw Blaney win Stage 2.

 

KESELOWSKI WINS FIRST CLOCK

Brad Keselowski outdueled Kyle Busch down the stretch to win his first grandfather clock after capturing the STP 500 on Apr. 2, 2017.  The two drivers waged a memorable battle that saw them swap the lead five times in the last 160 laps, but Keselowski ended up making the decisive pass on lap 458 and led the final 43 circuits to become the first repeat winner in 2017.  Prior to winning at Martinsville, Keselowski took the checkered flag at Atlanta in the second race of the season.

 

A FIRST FOR FRED

The first time Ford won a NASCAR Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway also marked the first career victory for 2015 NASCAR Hall of Famer Fred Lorenzen.  The date was April 9, 1961 and Lorenzen battled Rex White, who led the first 118 laps after starting on the pole.  Lorenzen, driving for Holman-Moody at the time, grabbed the lead on lap 119 and held it until rain came ending the race prematurely after 149 circuits.  Little did anyone know that 54 years later both men would be enshrined into the NASCAR Hall of Fame as part of the same induction class.  Martinsville was a place Lorenzen dominated, winning six times, including four straight from 1963-65.  He was absolutely unbeatable in 1964 as he led 990 out of a possible 1,000 laps (487 in the first and 493 in the second) in winning both races.

 

CRAVEN WINS FIRST CUP RACE

Ricky Craven outlasted Dale Jarrett over the final laps to post the first victory of his NASCAR Cup Series career on Oct. 15, 2001 at Martinsville Speedway.  Pit strategy played a key role in this race as Jarrett opted for four tires on his final stop while Craven just got two.  That enabled Craven to build a lead following the ensuing restart with 17 to go, but Jarrett gained ground and found himself in position to win on the final lap.  That’s when Jarrett went to the outside going into turn one and got side-by-side with Craven coming off turn two.  Both Fords made contact door-to-door entering turn three, but Craven emerged off four with the advantage and took the checkered flag.

 

RUDD ROUGHS IT OUT

No driver displayed more toughness during his career than Ricky Rudd and that was evident again in 1998 when the Virginia native endured burns on his backside to win the NAPA Autocare 500 on Sept. 27.  On a day that saw temperatures in the mid-nineties, Rudd found himself in a bad way just five laps into the race when his cooling unit failed.  As the cockpit got hotter he asked to have a relief driver standing by, so Hut Stricklin was in the pit area ready to takeover.  Ice packs helped momentarily, but his back was blistering so the team tried to cool him off with a hose.  Unfortunately, the hose they used had been lying in the sun, so when they doused him the first time the water was hot.  That method worked better on later stops, but in the end it was Rudd who toughed it out and led the final 96 laps to win and extend his streak to 16 consecutive seasons with at least one NASCAR Cup Series win.

 

FORD NASCAR CUP SERIES WINNERS AT MARTINSVILLE

1961 – Fred Lorenzen (1)

1962 – Nelson Stacy (2)

1963 – Fred Lorenzen (2)

1964 – Fred Lorenzen (Sweep)

1965 – Fred Lorenzen and Junior Johnson

1966 – Fred Lorenzen (2)

1969 – Richard Petty (Sweep)

1986 – Ricky Rudd (1)

1990 – Geoffrey Bodine (Sweep)

1992 – Mark Martin and Geoffrey Bodine

1993 – Ernie Irvan (2)

1994 – Rusty Wallace (Sweep)

1995 – Rusty Wallace (1)

1996 – Rusty Wallace (1)

1997 – Jeff Burton (1)

1998 – Ricky Rudd (2)

2000 – Mark Martin (1)

2001 – Dale Jarrett and Ricky Craven

2002 – Kurt Busch (2)

2017 – Brad Keselowski (1)

2018 – Clint Bowyer and Joey Logano

2019 – Brad Keselowski (1)

 

FORD NASCAR XFINITY SERIES WINNERS AT MARTINSVILLE

1994 – Kenny Wallace

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