Nascar At Martinsville: “Just A Fan’s View” of Beatin’ and Bangin’ at the 1/2 mile ‘Paperclip’


The Stop for Nascar this week is Martinsville. (Wait a minute … you already knew that. That’s why they call you a Nascar Fan, right?)

Well, as most of us already know, Martinsville is a flat, 1/2 mile short track that yields high speeds and hot tempers more often than not. The pits are extremely cramped and the word from the crew chiefs to the drivers is usually something along the lines of, “Hit your marks, save your brakes and keep your cool.”

Now, do the drivers listen? Well … sometimes.

The qualifying was rained out on Friday as well as the practice session throwing a wrench in the works for the weekend. It also threw a wrench into the works for me because I try to get these reports out at least by Friday before the race so it isn’t such, “old News.” (Oh well, that’s racin’).

The rain-out will have the ‘Chasers’ lined up according to points and that is good and bad depending on who you talk to. Jimmy Johnson will start on the pole with Jeff Burton on the outside. Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards fill out the second row while Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick the third. All of this yields not only a good starting position for all of them, but great spots in the pits also.

If we take a look at recent qualifying and race performances at Martinsville, it gives the impression that some will benefit from the rain-out and some will be disadvantaged by it. Unfortunately, the statistics lean heavily on the winner starting in the top ten. that doesn’t mean the winner won’t come from further back in the field, but the chances are definitely much slimmer.

I think Jeff Gordon has a very good chance to finish up front this week simply because he always seems to perform well at Martinsville. (But I get ahead of myself). Because of the rain-out he will be starting eighth and have a poorer than normal pit stall because he usually qualifies nearer the front. This may affect his finish, but he still has a great chance of taking the checkered flag. Tony Stewart and Jeff fill up the fourth row.

The biggest thing I noticed during the first practice was the lap times separating the fastest from the slowest were only about a half second apart. That means the racing is going to be very tight and extra patience will be required by all. It seems I remember from my racing days gone by that it takes being about three tenths of a second faster than the person you want to pass to actually make that pass, (or should I say, comfortably make the pass. Does that mean with or without the beatin’ and the bangin’. All I can say is “time will tell.”)

That brings us to “Just A Fan’s View” opinion time. So, who does this fan think is going to win this weekend? Wow, that’s a great question. I kinda wish they would have had qualifying because pit placement is so important at Martinsville and that will figure highly into who the possible winner will be. In all honesty, it is going to depend on consistency in the pits and that ever constant strategy for fuel and tires. Track position will be the key to victory this weekend along with a little racing luck figuring into the mix.

I’m going to stick my neck way out there and choose the winner of the race to be, Jeff Gordon. He is hungry and knows his chances of winning at Martinsville are very good and that confidence could figure greatly into the victory being his this weekend. This weekend at Martinsville in my opinion is his best chance of visiting victory lane so far this year.

In any case, there’s no denying there will be more than a little beatin’ and bangin’ going on and more than a few altercations caused by paybacks, impatience and frustration.

Here’s one of my all time favorite short track memorable quotes after an altercation that resulted in a driver being spun out by another. It goes something like this: “Look, I tried you high, I tried you low and then, ‘cotton picker’, it was time for you to go!”

Now, I know you can tell I have slightly edited that, but no matter, I’m sure we’ll see some of that happen at Martinsville this weekend. That’s one good thing about the C.O.T. though — It can take beatin’ and keep on racin’.

See ya next time …


© 2008 PCN Productions and Rusty Norman

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By Rusty Norman

Amateur writer, NASCAR Fan, musician and former local Stock Car racer.