Fast Five: Martinsville Speedway

Four races to go in the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the teams gets ready to tackle the paper-clip track that is Martinsville Speedway. Martinsville has a combination of long straightaways and flat, narrow turns that make hard braking going into turns and smooth acceleration exciting turns a must. Martinsville's surface is unique, as it is paved with a combination of asphalt and concrete. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will race the Tums Fast Relief 500 on Sunday, October 30th. Here is a look at five significant facts and records that could have an impact on the results of the race finish.

Best Average Finish and Most Wins

Five-time NASCAR Sprint Series Champion, Jimmie Johnson, has the best average finish at Martinsville Speedway at 5.6. While his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Jeff Gordon has the most wins at the track with seven. A win for Jeff Gordon on Sunday would be much needed for the 24 team. However, Gordon's last win at the paper-clip was on October 23, 2005.

Most Top-Fives and Most Top-Tens

Jeff Gordon holds the record for the most top-fives and top-tens at Martinsville. He has 24 top-fives and 30 top-tens. Last week at Talladega, Jeff Gordon was asked about the race at Martinsville. Gordon said "I always go to Martinsville with a lot of confidence. It’s a very challenging track, but we seem to get into a rhythm and seem to be very competitive here-no matter the cars, the tires, or any other changes that we’ve had over the years." Gordon is currently 10th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings and 82 points behind the leader. Could confidence be the key to getting the No. 24 Chevrolet Impala back in victory lane?

Fastest Qualifying Speed

Two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion and current Car Owner, Tony Stewart has the fastest qualifying speed at 98.084 mph, a record that was set back in 2005. Stewart’s last win at the paper-clip was back on April 26th, 2006. 

Last Win at Talladega Superspeedway

The honor for the last win at Martinsville Speedway goes to Kevin Harvick. It was Harvick’s second consecutive race win and probably made himself the most unpopular man in Virginia. With three laps to go, Harvick passed Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and pulled away to capture his first win at Martinsville and his 16th victory in the Cup Series.

Currently, Harvick is 26 points back in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chase for the Championship after an early wreck at Talladega Superspeedway caused him to end up in the garage for repairs and leaving him at the No. 29 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet to finish 32nd. Will Harvick gain some points and sweep the races this weekend?

Most Laps Led

Once again this week, Jeff Gordon is the driver that has led the most laps. At Martinsville Speedway, he has led 2,981 laps. All the stats are pointing to him getting back into Victory Lane this weekend? His last win after all was Atlanta Motor Speedway in September.

Qualifying for the Tums Fast Relief 500 from Martinsville Speedway  is Saturday at 12pm EST on SPEED, while the race is on Sunday afternoon starting with the NASCAR Countdown on ESPN at 1pm EST. 

Who do you think will be in Gatorade Victory Lane after the race? Will Dale Earnhardt, Jr. finally end the losing drought?
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