TUMS Fast Relief 500

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Basic Info 

Track length: 0.526 mile
Banking: Corners - 12 degrees; straights - 0 degrees
Frontstretch: 800 feet
Backstretch: 800 feet
Track Width: 55 feet
Race length: 500 laps
Grandstand seating capacity: 65,000
Opened: 1947

Martinsville is a short track. In fact, it’s the shortest track on the NASCAR circuit. Drivers either love short tracks or hate them. Since most got their start racing on short tracks, this is a popular place to visit, especially during the Chase when there are so many 1.5 mile tracks in a row.

Martinsville is different from Bristol and Dover in two ways.  The track is shaped like a paper clip. Driver 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 Sunday. Martinsville also has asphalt on the straightaways and concrete along the turns. Drivers rarely feel 100 percent super-duper all the way around the track. There’s always a chance for someone to slip up.

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 to impress your friends Sunday:
- Martinsville opened in 1947. It is the only track to host a race in NASCAR’s top series every year since 1949.
- Winners receive a grandfather clock instead of a trophy.
- A Chase driver will probably win. The top five drivers in terms of average finish are all in the Chase.
- Stunner of all stunners, Jimmie Johnson has the highest average finish at Martinsville.
- Stunner of all stunners, Jimmie Johnson is the defending race champion. He also won here earlier in the year.
- Stunner of all stunners, Jeff Gordon has the most career wins at Martinsville, with seven.
- Jeff Gordon must have a really big house to fit all those clocks or give some rocking Christmas presents to his friends and family.
- No driver has qualified with a speed over 100 MPH.
- Several sites suggest the hot dogs at Martinsville are really good.
- Martinsville won’t reveal the recipe that makes their hot dogs so great.
- I am going to stop typing so I can get a hot dog.