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Martinsville is a short track. In fact, it’s the shortest track on the NASCAR circuit. One lap is just .526 miles. Drivers either love short tracks or hate them. Since most got their start racing on short tracks, this is a popular place to visit.
The first Martinsville race was in late March right after Bristol. So teams are in a definite short track frame of mind. In late October, things are different. Teams run Charlotte, then Richmond, then Talladega. It’s tough to find a more robust transition for teams on the schedule all year.
The Paper Clip is different from Bristol and Dover in two ways. For starters, the track really is shaped like a paper clip. Drivers will have two reasonably long straightaways with zero banking, then hit two tight corners. Since it’s a 500-lap race, you don’t have to be a math major to realize how tested the brakes will be. Martinsville also has asphalt on the straightaways and concrete along the turns. Drivers rarely love their ride all the way around the track.
Qualifying here is huge. The pits are tight, so getting a good stall is a legit bonus. Plus, there’s a 1/4 lap difference between first and last on a double file restart. It’s easy to get caught in traffic or lapped, even if you have a good car.
Now some other random facts from the track's website to impress the friends as you’re staring a 1-6 record on your fantasy football team on Sunday: Oh yeah, ESPN has race coverage with their normal 1:00 EDT starting time.
- Martinsville opened in 1947. It is the only track to host a race in NASCAR’s top series every year since 1949.
- The banking is twelve degrees in the corner. There is no banking on the straightaways, which are 55 feet wide and 800 feet long.
- Winners receive a grandfather clock instead of a trophy.
- Ryan Newman won the first Martinsville race this year.
- Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart won at Martinsville last year.
- Stunner of all stunners, Jimmie Johnson has the highest average finish at Martinsville. He has six wins at the track.
- Denny Hamlin swept the races in 2010 and has four wins in thirteen career starts.
- From the no surprise department, Hamlin has the second best average finish at the track
- Jeff Gordon has the most career wins at Martinsville, with seven. He has the third best average finish.
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart have the fourth and fifth best average finishes at Martinsville.
- Stewart and Martin have each won here twice. There are no other multiple race winners.
- No driver has qualified with a speed over 100 MPH.
- Fireworks and strollers are not allowed at the track.
- What dork launches fireworks in October?
- Several sites suggest the hot dogs at Martinsville are really good.
- Martinsville won’t reveal the recipe that makes their hot dogs so great.
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