MARTINSVILLE, Va. (September 14, 2010) – The TUMS Fast Relief 500 is still six weeks away, but it’s not too early for fans to be looking forward to the only short-track stop in the Chase, making their predictions of who will master Martinsville Speedway’s difficult half-mile.
While two or three names come quickly to mind as favorites because of past successes – Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Denny Hamlin – at least half of the 12-driver chase field has won at Martinsville before.
Hamlin, the top-seed in the Chase, knocked Johnson from his Martinsville throne in recent races. The Virginia driver has won two straight here and three of the last five events. Those three wins came in just 10 starts, so he quickly got the place figured out. Amazingly, he has nine top-10 finishes in those 10 starts.
Johnson has amassed six Martinsville wins in his relatively short career … which includes just 17 Martinsville starts. He has 12 top 5s, 16 top 10s and an amazing average finish of just over 5.
Next to Richard Petty, Gordon is the absolute King of Martinsville and even though he’s seeded eighth, has to be taken seriously as a threat in the Chase, and especially the TUMS Fast Relief 500. He has seven Martinsville poles, seven wins, 23 top 5s and 29 top 10s with an average finish of just over 6.
Kevin Harvick, who is seeded third in the Chase, doesn’t have a Martinsville win … in a Sprint Cup car. But he does have two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series wins on the track he calls home, plus a NASCAR Nationwide Series win here.
Tony Stewart, who wasn’t a big Martinsville fan early in his career, has done well on the short track since those days. Stewart, seeded sixth, has three poles, two wins and has finished in the top 5 in almost half of his 23 starts
Fourth-seeded Kyle Busch doesn’t have a Martinsville win, but has been in the top five in four of his 11 starts. His brother Kurt, seeded a spot behind him, has a pole and a win at Martinsville.
Next to Jeff Gordon, Jeff Burton has the most Martinsville starts out of the 12 Chase drivers. He has 32 starts that have resulted in a win, 10 top 5s and 14 top 10s.
Seventh-seeded Carl Edwards has a top 5 and three top 10s in his dozen Martinsville starts while 11th seeded Matt Kenseth has a pair of top 5 finishes and a half-dozen top 10s in 21 starts.
Greg Biffle, seeded seventh, doesn’t have a top five in 15 starts, but had two top 10s.
Clint Bowyer, seeded 12th, has the least Martinsville starts of anyone in the Chase with nine. He does have one Martinsville top 5 finish and has been in the top 10 in over half of his Martinsville starts.
Tickets for the entire TUMS Relief 500 weekend are now on sale. Tickets for the TUMS Fast Relief 500 begin at $25 and range to $77.
Tickets to the Kroger 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on October 23 are $30 in advance, with children 12 and under admitted free.
Tickets for Farm Bureau Pole Day, which features practice and qualifying for both the Kroger 200 and the TUMS Fast Relief 500, are $15, children 12 and under admitted free.
Tickets for all events may be purchased by calling 1.877.RACE.TIX or by visiting www.martinsvillespeedway.com online.