Martinsville a Difficult Nut to Crack
NASCAR’s race for the Chase pulls onto the unfriendly, cramped and just difficult racing venue of Martinsville Speedway for Friday’s Tums Fast Relief 500, a .526-mile track that probably isn’t the favourite of many of the NASCAR competitors. Kurt Busch admitted recently that he has a love hate relationship going with this track and that he has had a less than successful time at Martinsville in the 18 races he has competed in during his ten year NASCAR career and it’s my guess there are probably a few other racers that don’t exactly feel confident coming to Martinsville.
Martinsville is one of the tougher tracks to be consistent on and the size of the track means it can often be more of a demolition derby for many of the competitors, since you’re bound to run into something during a race at Martinsville. There just isn’t as much more to manoeuvre on the pavement of Martinsville, you’re always being crowded or crowding someone else and you never have a moment to relax, since the margin of error is so fine between racing well and total crash and burn failure.
A bad pit stop at Martinsville is going to cost you quite a few spots also, so if you go in for a pit stop in 8th place, and have a problem getting the work done, then you’ll come out in 28th place or worse. The corners at Martinsville are tight ones and the track is slick in areas, so you have to watch where you run, which you’ll get to see on Sunday during the race. Martinsville is so unique that it might be a taste that needs to be developed over a career of races and this is why Kurt Busch in my opinion has a good chance, if his car is up to speed, of having a good result at Martinsville. The set up on his car is going to be critical and he has a lot of experience racing at Martinsville and he might have an advantage due to his experience. The race will be entertaining in that this is definitely one of the more challenging tracks and should give us plenty of the bumping and jostling we love to see on a race track.
“Image: Zuma Press”