Ford Performance NASCAR: Martinsville Advance

by Official Release On Tue, Mar. 20, 2018


The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will head to Martinsville Speedway this weekend.  It marks the first action for the trucks since Las Vegas two weeks ago and will mark the first of two visits to the half-mile oval for the Cup Series in 2018.  Here’s a look at how Ford has fared in both series through the years.


Ford leads all manufacturers with three wins in the first five Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races this season.  In addition, Ford has six drivers currently in the top 10 of the point standings.  Joey Logano leads the way in third-place, followed by Team Penske teammates Brad Keselowski (fourth) and Ryan Blaney (fifth).  The Stewart-Haas quartet are also aligned with each other, topped by Kevin Harvick (eighth) and then Clint Bowyer (ninth), Aric Almirola (10th) and Kurt Busch (11th).  Paul Menard sits 15th for the Wood Brothers, giving Ford eight of the top 16 drivers.  Ford also leads the manufacturer standings by one point.

·         Ford has 27 series wins at Martinsville Speedway.
·         Brad Keselowski is the defending race winner of this week’s event.
·         Joey Logano has won the pole four of the last five times qualifying has been held.
·         Kurt Busch has two MENCS wins and Kevin Harvick one.

·         Ford has five all-time NCWTS wins at Martinsville Speedway.
·         Joey Logano’s only series win came at the track in 2015.
·         Joe Ruttman won the first series race in 1995.
·         ThorSport’s Matt Crafton has two victories at the speedway (2014, 2015).


Ford had gone 28 races without a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win at Martinsville Speedway, but Brad Keselowski ended that drought last spring by outdueling Kyle Busch down the stretch.  The two drivers waged a memorable battle that saw them swap the lead five times in the last 160 laps, but Keselowski ended up making the decisive pass on lap 458 and led the final 43 circuits to become the first repeat winner in 2017.  The win was Keselowski’s first series triumph at the half-mile oval and followed up his victory at Atlanta in the second race of the season.


The first time Ford won a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway also marked the first career victory for 2015 NASCAR Hall of Famer Fred Lorenzen.  The date was April 9, 1961 and Lorenzen battled Rex White, who led the first 118 laps after starting on the pole.  Lorenzen, driving for Holman-Moody at the time, grabbed the lead on lap 119 and held it until rain came ending the race prematurely after 149 circuits.  Little did anyone know that 54 years later both men would be enshrined into the NASCAR Hall of Fame as part of the same induction class.  Martinsville was a place Lorenzen dominated, winning six times, including four straight from 1963-65.  He was absolutely unbeatable in 1964 as he led 990 out of a possible 1,000 laps (487 in the first and 493 in the second) in winning both races.


Ricky Craven outlasted Dale Jarrett over the final laps to post the first victory of his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career on Oct. 15, 2001 at Martinsville Speedway.  Pit strategy played a key role in this race as Jarrett opted for four tires on his final stop while Craven just got two.  That enabled Craven to build a lead following the ensuing restart with 17 to go, but Jarrett gained ground and found himself in position to win on the final lap.  That’s when Jarrett went to the outside going into turn one and got side-by-side with Craven coming off turn two.  Both Fords made contact door-to-door entering turn three, but Craven emerged off four with the advantage and took the checkered flag.


No driver displayed more toughness during his career than Ricky Rudd and that was evident again in 1998 when the Virginia native endured burns on his backside to win the NAPA Autocare 500 on Sept. 27.  On a day that saw temperatures in the mid-nineties, Rudd found himself in a bad way just five laps into the race when his cooling unit failed.  As the cockpit got hotter he asked to have a relief driver standing by, so Hut Stricklin was in the pit area ready to takeover.  Ice packs helped momentarily, but his back was blistering so the team tried to cool him off with a hose.  Unfortunately, the hose they used had been lying in the sun, so when they doused him the first time the water was hot.  That method worked better on later stops, but in the end it was Rudd who toughed it out and led the final 96 laps to win and extend his streak to 16 consecutive seasons with at least one Monster Energy NASCAR Cup win.


When Kurt Busch won at Martinsville Speedway was on Oct. 20, 2002 he set a track record for winning from the furthest starting position after taking the green flag in 36th-place.  It took him all day to eventually get to the front of the field, but he took the lead on lap 389 and surrendered it for only one lap to Johnny Benson the rest of the way in posting his second career win.  Benson was all over Busch’s bumper in the closing laps as lap traffic created plenty of drama, but Busch was able to weave his way through and take the checkered flag.

6 – Fred Lorenzen (1961,’63,’64*,’65,’66)
4 – Rusty Wallace (1994*,’95,’96)
3 – Geoffrey Bodine (1990*,’92)
2 – Richard Petty (1969*)
2 – Ricky Rudd (1986,’98)
2 – Mark Martin (1992, 2000)
1 – Nelson Stacy (1962)
1 – Junior Johnson (1965)
1 – Ernie Irvan (1993)
1 – Jeff Burton (1997)
1 – Dale Jarrett (2001)
1 – Ricky Craven (2001)
1 – Kurt Busch (2002)
1 – Brad Keselowski (2017)
* Denotes season sweep

** The opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily those of the publisher. All comments other than website related problems need to be directed to the author. (c) **

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