Event Preview: Martinsville Speedway
Race: Goody’s Fast Relief 500
Location: Martinsville Speedway
Richard Childress Racing
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race Notes:
RCR at Martinsville … In 128 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Martinsville Speedway, Richard Childress Racing has earned three poles and posted seven wins with drivers Ricky Rudd and Dale Earnhardt, as well as Kevin Harvick who claimed the checkered flag in April 2011. Additionally, RCR Chevrolet teams have earned 27 top-five and 53 top-10 finishes at Martinsville dating back to April 10, 1972. RCR boasts a 16.8 average starting position, a 15.7 average finishing position and have completed 59,480 of the 63,638 contested laps (93.5 percent) at the paperclip-shaped oval race track. Childress, a former driver in NASCAR’s top division, contributed four of those top 10s from 1976-1978.
The Collective RCR … Over the season’s first five races, the Welcome, N.C.-based organization’s Sprint Cup Series entries have notched three top-five and eight top-10 finishes. RCR teams have completed 5,451 out of 5,640 total laps (96.65 percent) with drivers Jeff Burton, Harvick, Paul Menard, Elliott Sadler and Brendan Gaughan. The group has led a combined 125 laps.
Get to the Points … Following the rain-shortened NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway, Harvick remains second in the driver championship point standings, gaining ground and sitting seven points out of the top spot. Menard fell one position, to 11th, in the point standings, while Burton slipped to 15th.
Interactive RCR … To keep up-to-date with the latest news and to view exclusive content, visit RCR’s Twitter page – @RCRracing – along with the RCR Sprint Cup Series team Twitter pages – @RCR27PMenard, @RCR29KHarvick and @RCR31JeffBurton. Information about the 14-time championship winning organization can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RichardChildressRacing and at www.RCRracing.com.
Catch the Action … FOX’s live coverage of the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 begins Sunday, April 1 at 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time. The race will also be broadcast on the Motor Racing Network and SIRIUS XM Satellite Radio. Qualifying for the sixth points-paying event on the Sprint Cup Series calendar will air live on SPEED on Saturday, March 31 at 11:30 a.m. ET.
No. 27 Libman/Menards Chevrolet
Event Preview Fact Sheet
This Week’s Libman/Menards Chevrolet at Martinsville Speedway … Paul Menard will pilot Chassis No. 349 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This No. 27 Chevrolet was last seen on track at Martinsville in October 2011 where Menard finished 24th after starting in the 21st position.
Menard at Martinsville …In nine previous starts at Martinsville Speedway, Menard has completed 94.5 percent of his laps (4,269 of 4,519), has an average starting position of 24.8 and an average finishing position of 22.7. His best finish of 13th came in the October 2010 event and his best start at the 0.526-mile speedway came in March 2010 when he took the green flag in the ninth position.
Getting Loopy in 2012 … With the first five points-paying events in the books, Menard sits 11th in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings. In his sophomore year with Richard Childress Racing, Menard has an average starting position of 24.2, an average finishing position of 14.6 and maintains an average running position of 18.54. The Eau Claire, Wis., native ranks second in the Closers category, improving an average of 3.8 positions in the final 10 percent of the five contested races.
Virginia is for…racing! … No. 27 Libman/Menards team tire specialist Chris Sherwood is a Portsmouth, Va., native.
About Libman … For over 110 years, the Libman family has made quality their utmost priority. William Libman started The Libman Company in 1896 with one mission; to make the finest, most durable wire-wound corn brooms. William’s sons, grandsons and great grandchildren have since expanded that mission to include the finest mops, brooms, brushes and cleaning tools. For more information on Libman, please visit www.libman.com.
Race Rewind … At Martinsville Speedway in October 2011, handling issues plagued the No. 27 Chevrolet team early in the 500-lap race. Numerous caution periods allowed the Slugger Labbe-led team to make adjustments and improve the car’s balance. Menard was running in the top 15 when contact with another competitor left the yellow No. 27 racer with significant right-side damage. Following a lengthy pit stop for repairs, Menard lost three laps to the race leaders and spent the remainder of the race trying to secure track position, ultimately earning a 24th-place result.
In the Rearview Mirror: Fontana … Starting from the 27th position, Menard battled track position and a loose-handling condition early in the event. Without caution periods to use pit strategy to their advantage, the CertainTeed/Menard team made chassis adjustments under green-flag pit stops and remained in the 23rd position for the majority of the race. Rain began to fall and on lap 129 the red flag was displayed. NASCAR officials declared the race complete and Menard was scored with a 19th-place finish.
PAUL MENARD QUOTES:
If you look at every driver’s statistics, Martinsville Speedway is the toughest track to get a handle on, even if short-track racing was where they came from. Why do you think that race track is so tough to tackle?
“There’s just a lot of bumping and banging. You’re lucky to come out of there without spinning out at least one time. Of all the tracks we visit, track position is probably the most important there. Tires don’t fall off much and it’s extremely hard to pass. So you really try to position yourself to get up front and then once you’re there, not get run over from behind.”
How do you explain to the average race fan how hectic it is to race at Martinsville Speedway?
“If anyone has been on a bumper car track at a fair or amusement park, that’s how the restarts are at Martinsville. You go into turn one and everybody checks up. You hit the guy in front of you, and then you get hit from behind. It literally feels like a bumper car.”
Last year you didn’t have the best finishes at Martinsville Speedway, but do you feel like you still progressed as a team and as a driver?
“I don’t remember exactly what happened to us in the fall race, but in the spring race we had a pretty good car. A couple of guys got into it in front of me and one of the guys thought that I had instigated it. I was just riding around and he decided to brake-check me and a piece of his bumper went through our grill. The damage to the radiator caused us to overheat and ended our day. It was nothing of our doing and was unfortunate because we had a really good car.”
No. 29 Budweiser is Back Chevrolet
Event Preview Fact Sheet
This Week’s Budweiser is Back Chevrolet at Martinsville Speedway … Kevin Harvick will pilot Chassis No. 320 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable in this weekend’s Goody’s Fast Relief 500. This former No. 33 racer was transformed to a No. 29 entry during the off-season and will turn its first competitive laps as a Budweiser is Back Chevrolet during Friday’s opening practice session.
Budweiser is Back … Anheuser-Busch and its family of wholesalers annually celebrate the repeal of Prohibition on April 7 – the day the Cullen-Harrison Act took effect in 1933, legalizing the sale of 3.2 percent alcohol by volume beer in the District of Columbia and the 20 states in which state laws did not prohibit its sale. Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser is Back Chevrolet team will join in the celebration of this milestone in American brewing history by running a special paint scheme for this weekend’s Goody’s Fast Relief 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway. The “Budweiser is Back” black and white paint scheme pays homage to the post-Prohibition days of the early 20th century with the newspaper headline from 1933 announcing “Prohibition Ends at Last!” on the hood. The TV panel features the words of August A. Busch Jr. who proclaimed “Happy days are here again,” during a special radio broadcast on KMOX CBS Radio as the first trucks carrying Budweiser left the St. Louis brewhouse.
Celebrating Start No. 400 … Harvick will mark a milestone in his NSCS career this weekend as he makes his 400th start in Sunday’s race at Martinsville Speedway. Since his first NSCS start on Feb. 25, 2001, at Rockingham Speedway, Harvick has earned 18 wins, 88 top-five finishes, 177 top-10 finishes and five pole awards.
Statistically Speaking … Harvick has made 21 NSCS starts at Martinsville Speedway since 2001. During that time he has scored one win (April 2011), three top-five and 10 top-10 finishes. He has completed 97.44 percent of the laps run in those 21 races (10,250 of 10,519) and he’s led a total of 342 laps at the short track. Harvick holds an average starting position of 13.9 and an average finishing position of 15.9 at Martinsville.
Loop Data … Since the inception of NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics in 2006, Harvick has competed in 14 NSCS races at Martinsville Speedway and owns impressive marks at the short track heading into this weekend’s Goody’s Fast Relief 500, including: sixth in Closers; seventh in Average Running Position (14.120); seventh in Driver Rating (94.4); seventh in Fastest Drivers Early in a Run; seventh in Green-Flag Speed; seventh in Laps in the Top-15 (4,584/65.3 percent); eighth in Fastest Laps Run (182); eighth in Laps Led (195); ninth in Speed in Traffic; 10th in Fastest Drivers Late in a Run; and 10th in Fastest on Restarts.
Prohibition Ends at Last … Budweiser was one of America’s best-selling beers from 1898 until Prohibition effectively halted production in 1919, so naturally, the country looked to Anheuser-Busch to lead the celebration as the first cases of Budweiser rolled out of the company’s St. Louis brewery just after midnight on April 7, 1933. On the night of April 6, 1933, more than 25,000 St. Louisans, representing the hopes and dreams of American workers, long since home from the war and demoralized by the Great Depression, gathered with eager hearts and tin cups in hand to once again enjoy a cold glass of Budweiser, a sensation unknown to them for 14 years. As the clock atop the brewhouse showed one minute past midnight on April 7, 1933, sirens and steam whistles sounded, the large wooden doors of the brewery’s Bevo bottling plant opened to the cheers of the thirsty, and 55 trucks laden with America’s favorite brew rolled out into the night, delivering the first cases of post-Prohibition Budweiser to the masses. Though the national repeal of Prohibition for all forms of alcohol did not become finalized until December 5, April 7 marks the most significant anniversary in the American beer industry.
Looking Back … Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser is Back Chevrolet team return to Martinsville Speedway this weekend as defending champions of the Goody’s Fast Relief 500. In last year’s race, Harvick passed Dale Earnhardt Jr. with only four laps remaining in the 500-lap event to pick up his 16th career win in NSCS competition. The effort marked back-to-back trips to Victory Lane for Harvick and the No. 29 team as they also scored the win the previous weekend at Auto Club Speedway. The victory at Martinsville was the second of four wins the team earned in 2011.
Media Availability … Harvick will be available to members of the media at 10:30 a.m. ET on Friday in the Martinsville Speedway infield media center.
Local Talent on the No. 29 Team … Martinsville, Va., is home base for No. 29 Budweiser is Back Chevrolet team co-hauler driver Mark Williams. Williams and the team’s primary hauler driver Dennis Gammons logged nearly 40 hours combined at the wheel of the No. 29 hauler as they covered approximately 2,408 miles on the return trip to the Richard Childress Racing shop in Welcome, N.C., following last Sunday’s Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. This week Williams’ trip to the track will be much shorter as the drive from the RCR shop to the speedway will clock in at a little more than 125 miles round trip.
In the Rearview Mirror … Last weekend at Auto Club Speedway, Harvick and the No. 29 team scored a fourth-place finish in the rain-shortened Auto Club 400. He is currently ranked second in the Sprint Cup Series driver point standings on the strength of two top-fives and three top-10 finishes in the first five races of the season. During that span, he’s earned a ninth-place average starting position and a seventh-place average finishing position.
Double Duty for Harvick … In addition to driving the No. 29 Budweiser is Back Chevrolet in Sunday’s race, Harvick will pilot the No. 2 Tide/Kroger NASCAR Camping World Truck Series entry for Richard Childress Racing in Saturday’s Kroger 250. SPEED will provide live race coverage starting with the NCWTS Setup show at 1 p.m. ET. MRN Radio affiliates and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio will carry the live radio broadcast.
KEVIN HARVICK QUOTES:
Talk about coming to Martinsville Speedway this spring as the defending race winner.
“It feels good. Obviously, we’ve been fast at Martinsville a lot and to be able to put together a complete day like we did last time, at the end of the race we were able to capitalize on a fast car and win the race. We had a lot of things to overcome on that particular day and were able to pull out a win.”
You’ve won in Truck, Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series competition at Martinsville Speedway. What is it about Martinsville that suits your driving style?
“I just like the short tracks. I grew up, as a lot of us did, racing short tracks and Martinsville has always been a place I’ve enjoyed racing.”
Martinsville Speedway is a track that’s kept a foothold in our sport while NASCAR has expanded out across the country. Talk about why a track like Martinsville is important to our sport.
“I think you can look back at the history of Martinsville and watch a lot of races and see a lot of things that have happened there. To be able to still race on that particular track today in virtually the same setting is cool for the sport and cool for the competitors to be able to do that year after year.”
Looking to Martinsville, you have three straight top-four finishes at the track, including winning your first grandfather clock there last spring. Are you excited to get the monkey off your back of having good runs derailed by wrecks or mechanic failure and having solid runs and being able to finish?
“For us it was good to get the win out of our way and getting those solid finishes over the last couple of years has been good for us. We felt like we have always run fairly well there, we just never could put together a complete day.Really, the spring race last year, when we won, we had a tough go at it in the first half of the race, and actually wrecked and got a car tore up and were able to fix it and keep ourselves on the lead lap and make our car a lot better as we went through into the second half of the race. You know, it all worked out in the end.So it’s a race track we feel confident at. All of our cars have run well there in the past. It’s really keeping yourself out of trouble and getting to the end and hopefully by the end of the day you’re in position to do something in the top-five.”
How substantial is it to have your cars run extremely well in terms of sharing data and making sure you have the right brake package and right setups to make sure you can perform well on long runs when we get those 90-lap runs at Martinsville Speedway that happen late race?
“There are directions for the company that obviously work better for us than others. It tends to change every time you go there to be honest with you, just for the fact the tire might change a little. I haven’t heard anything that it’s supposed to change this time. But I think as you go to these racetracks and you see the different trends, all of us kind of drive a little bit different, so you wind up with differences in your car but most of the time they are down a very similar path. It’s just fine tuning those cars and being able to get it to the driver’s liking, but any time you can go to a race track. Martinsville is a great example, of company-wide, we seem to run very well at (that race track) and that always makes things a lot easier for the simulation engineers and the planning from each team’s perspective.”
No. 31 BB&T Chevrolet
Event Preview Fact Sheet
This Week’s BB&T Chevrolet at Martinsville Speedway … Jeff Burton will race chassis No. 329 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable this weekend. This No. 31 Chevrolet, originally built in 2010, has seen significant track time over the last two seasons including Texas Motor Speedway in Nov. 2010 (started-16th, finished-36th), Bristol Motor Speedway in Aug. 2011 (started-21st, finished-15th) and New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Sept. 2011 (started-18th, finished-13th). Burton also tallied a top-five finish at Phoenix International Raceway last November, finishing fourth after starting 14th.
Virginia is for Lovers … Burton grew up just an hour away from Martinsville Speedway in South Boston, Va. Sunday’s event marks Burton’s 36th start at the half-mile facility and 625th-career Sprint Cup Series entry. He has amassed 10 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes, led 940 laps and made one trip to Victory Lane in 1997.
Loopy in the “Hot Dog City” … Burton has garnered some impressive NASCAR Loop Data statistics at Martinsville Speedway since 2006. He has the eighth-best driver rating (89.5), spent 4,242 laps running in the top 15 (eighth-most), led 366 laps (seventh-most) and ran the fastest lap on track 269 times (seventh-most). Burton has also made 683 green-flag passes with 364 of them coming while running in the top 15 under green-flag conditions.
Official Bank of RCR … BB&T is one of the largest financial services holding companies in the U.S. with $174.6 billion in assets and market capitalization of $14.9 billion, as of Dec. 31, 2011. Based in Winston-Salem, N.C., the company operates approximately 1,800 financial centers in 12 states and Washington, D.C., and offers a full range of consumer and commercial banking, securities brokerage, asset management, mortgage and insurance products and services. A Fortune 500 company, BB&T is consistently recognized for outstanding client satisfaction by J.D. Power and Associates, the U.S. Small Business Administration, Greenwich Associates and others. The RCR partnership with BB&T has enjoyed great success both on and off the track in the past five years, including the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series driver’s championship with Clint Bowyer and multiple trips to victory lane in NASCAR’s premiere division at Richmond and Talladega Superspeedway. The relationship began at the start of the 2007 Nationwide Series season and moved up to Sprint Cup Series action in 2009.More information about BB&T and its full line of products and services is available at www.BBT.com.
Meet the Press … Burton will field questions from the gathered media inside the Martinsville Speedway infield media center on Saturday, March 31, at 10:15 a.m. ET
Building a Legacy … During his 20-year Sprint Cup Series career, the veteran RCR driver has earned 21 wins, 131 top-five and 244 top-10 finishes in 624 starts. Burton has also tallied six pole awards and led 6,506 laps.
Rewind to Last Week … Burton and the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet team finished 22nd in the Auto Club 400 after NASCAR officials shortened the scheduled 200-lap event to 129 laps due to rain.
Points Racing … Burton is now 15th in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, just 13 points out of the final Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup spot.
JEFF BURTON QUOTES:
Last October, it seemed like Martinsville Speedway was the beginning of the resurgence of the No. 31 team.
“We had to make a lot of changes. Obviously, things weren’t very good. We went to Phoenix International Raceway and Martinsville Speedway for tire tests and got our footing there late in the year. Then we went back and performed well. It was a small comeback for us. We were actually better than sixth. Towards the end of the race, we had some trouble on restarts and missed the opportunity to finish in the top five. We performed well all day, had a solid weekend and that felt good because Martinsville is a very difficult race track. In my opinion, it’s one of the hardest tracks we go to on the circuit. To perform well at one of those short tracks means something. It doesn’t mean that we fixed everything, but it did put us on the right track.”
What do you mean when you say that Martinsville Speedway is a tough track mentally?
“To go fast in these cars, you have to be aggressive. You hear people say, ‘you have to drive them easy.’ That means you have to drive them really aggressive to the point where it is too aggressive. Then you have to back off just a touch. The brakes and components are so good today that you don’t save your car anymore. It is 500 laps of hard racing. You have to be very precise. You never catch a break or get to say to yourself, ‘you get to chill out here for a little while.’ Someone is always on your bumper or right next to you. People tend to get road rage at Martinsville because of the pressure and there is so much stuff in your face all the time. Mentally, it is difficult to stay focused and not let everything that is going on around you let you make decisions that are wrong for you. You have to remember why you are there and who you are. You also have to stay focused on what you are doing on that lap that will get you there.”
Sometimes road rage leads to these multi-car pileups with innocent victims. What are your thoughts on that?
“Lately, we seem to have a lot of retaliation. This ‘boys have it’ thing, while it might be interesting to watch, has created a scenario where you do something wrong to someone, they have full freedom to wreck you. That’s not a good thing. Worse than that, there is a driver out there riding along and has nothing to do with the conflict and gets caught up in it. We see a lot of that, especially at Martinsville. It’s one of those places where, at any point, the guy in front of you can go around. It’s really easy to spin a driver out at Martinsville, probably easier than anywhere else we go. People tend to use that. For years, we have heard drivers say, ‘well, that’s plate racing’ or ‘well, that’s short-track racing.’ No, it’s not. That’s all on you. Take accountability for what you did. Martinsville is one of those places where people use that as an excuse. At the end of the day, the drivers are in control of the situation.”
Race: Kroger 250
Location: Martinsville Speedway
Richard Childress Racing
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race Notes:
RCR at Martinsville … RCR has 11 previous starts at the half-mile race track. In those 11 appearances, the Welcome, N.C.-based organization boasts two wins with Mike Skinner in 1996 and Jay Sauter in 1998. Accompanying those wins are five top-five and seven top-10 finishes with a 100 percent (2,517 of 2,517) completion of the laps contested and 359 laps led at Martinsville Speedway. RCR holds a 15.2 average starting position coupled with a 7.8 average finishing position.
Truck Line-up … Kevin Harvick will pilot the No. 2 Kroger/Tide Chevrolet at Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250. The No. 2 truck will join Ty Dillon in the No. 3 Bass Pro Chevrolet and Joey Coulter in the No. 22 Steam-umm Chevrolet for the 250-lap affair on Saturday.
RCR’s NCWTS History … In 211 NCWTS starts, Richard Childress Racing has earned 24 wins, 81 top-five finishes, 131 top-10 finishes and 28 poles, along with the inaugural series championship in 1995 with Mike Skinner and Austin Dillon in 2011. The organization has an average starting position of 9.7 and an average finishing position of 10.2.
Social Media … To keep up-to-date with the latest news and information and to view exclusive content, visit RCR’s Twitter page – @RCRracing, RCR’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team Twitter pages – @RCR3TDillon, @RCR22JCoulter and @RCR2CWTS. RCR’s NCWTS driver Twitter pages – @tydillon, @JoeyCoulter, @timgeorgejr, @Brendan62 and @kevinharvick
Catch the Action … Flag-to-flag coverage of this weekend’s Kroger 250 will be televised live on Saturday, March 31, beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on SPEED and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM Satellite Radio.
No. 2 Kroger/Tide Chevrolet Silverado
Event Preview Fact Sheet
This Week’s Kroger/Tide Chevrolet at Martinsville Speedway … Kevin Harvick will pilot Chassis No. 058 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Camping World Truck Series stable in this weekend’s Kroger 250. This is a former Kevin Harvick, Inc. racer which was transformed during the off-season by the RCR team.
Martinsville Speedway Notes … In 13 starts at the Martinsville, Va. speedway, Harvick has earned two wins, six top-five and eight top-10 finishes. In addition, he’s completed 96.8 percent (2,962 of 3,060) of the laps contested and has led a total of 235 laps. Harvick has an average starting position of 7.5 and an average finishing position of 10th at the half-mile track.
Home Track Triple Winner … Harvick has found success at Martinsville Speedway, which is located about 30 minutes from his home in Kernersville, N.C. The RCR NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver has won in each of NASCAR’s top-three series at the Virginia short track (NSCS – 2011, NASCAR Nationwide Series – 2006, NCWTS – 2009, 2010)
About Kroger … Kroger Mid-Atlantic, a division of the The Kroger Co., operates 125 stores and 60 supermarket fuel centers in Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia and eastern portions of Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. Kroger Mid-Atlantic focuses its charitable efforts on supporting hunger relief, health and wellness initiatives, and local organizations in the communities it serves. For more information about Kroger, please visit www.Kroger.com
Double Duty … In addition to driving the No. 2 Kroger/Tide Chevrolet in Saturday’s NCTWS race, Harvick will also race the No. 29 Budweiser is Back Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, April 1. FOX will provide live television coverage of the event starting with the pre-race show at 1 p.m. ET. MRN affiliates and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio will carry the radio broadcast.
Last Time Around … Harvick’s RCR Camping World Truck Series teammate Brendan Gaughan raced the No. 2 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet Silverado in the 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway. After running strong throughout the majority of the event, the Las Vegas native was caught up in a multi-truck accident in the final laps and finished in the 20th position.
Meet the Press … Harvick will field questions from the gathered media inside the Martinsville Speedway infield media center on Friday, March 30, at 10:30 a.m. ET.
KEVIN HARICK QUOTES:
What are your thoughts heading into the Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway?
“I always have fun when we race at Martinsville. It is one of my favorite tracks to race and I’ve found a lot of success there during my career. I got my start short-track racing, and Martinsville reminds me of the good old days. We had a lot of success with the KHI truck series program at Martinsville so and I hope that trend can continue this weekend with RCR.”
No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet Silverado
Event Preview Fact Sheet
This Week’s Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet at Martinsville Speedway … Ty Dillon will pilot chassis No. 021 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Camping World Truck Series stable in Saturday’s Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway. Handed down from Dillon’s older brother Austin, this RCR entry saw on-track action in four previous occasions earning three top-10 finishes including a third-place result at Martinsville Speedway in October last year.
First Timer … Saturday’s 250-lap affair will mark Dillon’s first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at the half-mile speedway. The 20-year-old racer has one previous start at Martinsville Speedway. In 2010, the Dillon took the wheel of a NASCAR K&N Pro Series East car for Team Dillon Racing where he started in the ninth position and finished 22nd.
Review Mirror: Daytona International Speedway … After a long anticipated off-season, Dillon climbed into the famed No. 3 Chevrolet for the first time qualifying the Bass Pro Shops machine fourth for the season opener at Daytona International Speedway. The Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender survived close calls and bumper-to-bumper traffic and drove to a ninth-place finish his career-first top-10 effort of the 2012 season.
Test, Test, Test … Dillon has participated in three test sessions with his No. 3 RCR team since Daytona. The group has traveled to Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway, Caraway Speedway in Sophia, N.C., and Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va.
Mini Vacation … With five weeks off between the season opener in Daytona and this weekend’s Kroger 250, Dillon found a way to keep his driving skills sharp by dirt racing. The Welcome, N.C., native competed in nine dirt races with Team Dillon Racing. He is slated to make numerous other appearances in the No. 41 car from the TDR camp throughout the season.
Welcome Home … Tracy Ramsey, No. 3 Bass Pro Shops hauler driver hails from Fredericksburg, Va., a town 217 miles from the Martinsville, Va., track. Ramsey, a 10-year veteran of the RCR team, came over to the No. 3 team from Jeff Burton’s No. 31 Sprint Cup Series team where he worked as the tire specialist.
Sign Here, Please … Dillon is scheduled to participate in Camping World Truck Series autograph session at Martinsville Speedway on March 30. He will sign for gathered fans beginning at 4 p.m. in the Hospitality Village located above the fourth-turn area of the track.
Trackside Live … Stop by and see the driver of the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet as he joins the cast of NASCAR Trackside on Friday, March 30 at 5 p.m. at Martinsville Speedway in the midway area outside turn three.
TY DILLON QUOTES:
You haven’t made any laps at Martinsville Speedway in the Camping World Truck Series, What are your thoughts going into the weekend?
“We went and tested earlier this month and I think that helped us prepare for Martinsville Speedwaythis weekend. I’m used to racing at tracks that I haven’t raced at before. You just have to learn everything you can during practice. It will help having my RCR teammates, Joey Coulter and Kevin Harvick, there for assistance.”
How does it feel to race in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway then take a month off from the Camping World Truck Series?
“Even though we’ve had a month off from racing, I spent a lot of that down time dirt racing with Team Dillon Racing and testing the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet. It helps keeping your driving skills sharp by turning some laps on dirt.”
No. 22 Steak-umm Chevrolet Silverado
Event Preview Fact Sheet
This Week’s Steak-umm Chevrolet at Martinsville Speedway … Joey Coulter will pilot Chassis No. 003 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Camping World Truck Series stable in this weekend’s Kroger 250. This RCR racer was reconstructed after the 2010 season from a No. 3 into a No. 22 Chevrolet for Coulter in 2011. The No. 22 machine saw on-track action on four occasions during Coulter’s rookie season at both Martinsville Speedway events where Coulter started 23rd and finished 17th (March) and started 12th and finished fifth (October). Coulter also competed with the No. 003 at Lucas Oil Raceway in July (started third, finished seventh) and New Hampshire Motor Speedway in September (started third, finished 11th).
Martinsville Stats … Coulter has two previous starts at Martinsville Speedway. In the fall race last year at the half-mile race track, Coulter started 12th and finished fifth for his career-first top-five finish at the speedway. The Mechanical Engineering student has completed 100 percent of the contested laps earning an 11th-place average finishing position coupled with a 17.5 average starting position.
Loopy in Martinsville … Coulter holds some impressive stats at the Martinsville, Va., facility. He leads the category of most quality passes with 79 passes made, positioned fourth fastest green-flag speed, sixth fastest driver early in a run and eighth fastest on restarts. The 21-year-old driver has run 75 percent (340 of 450 laps) in the top-15 and has an average driver rating of 87.
Introducing Steak-umm … Steak-umm Company is a maker of frozen convenience foods including Steak-umm Sandwich Steaks, the best-known sandwich steak brand in the country, and Steak-umm Burgers, a line of ready-to-cook beef patties that go from freezer to table in as little as 12 minutes. Steak-umm is virtually synonymous with sandwich steaks and played a key role in turning the regional Philly Cheese Steak sandwich into standard fare on American dinner tables. The company is headquartered in Reading, Pennsylvania. For more information, visit http://steakumm.com.
Goin’ Back Home … The engine tuner on the No. 22 Steak-umm Chevrolet, Justin Adkins, grew up 15 minutes from Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Va. Adkins is a member of the ECR team in his second full season with the organization.
Meet the Driver … Coulter is scheduled to participate in the Camping World Truck Series autograph session at Martinsville Speedway on March 30. He will sign for gathered fans beginning at 4 p.m. in the Hospitality Village located above the fourth-turn area of the track. Coulter will also make an appearance at Kroger located at 240 West Commonwealth Blvd. in Martinsville Va., following the Camping World Truck Series autograph session. The 2011 Sunoco Rookie of the Year will sign autographs starting at 6 p.m. at Kroger.
Slingin’ Dirt … During the break between Speedweeks and this weekend’s race at Martinsville Speedway, Coulter has taken on a new hobby dirt racing. Coulter’s most recent escapade on dirt was at Volunteer Speedway in Bulls Gap, Tenn. The 21-year-old won the Pro Late Model class in only his second-career dirt outing and his first at the Volunteer Speedway. Coulter drives the No. 2 Wolf-Pack Racing entry.
JOEY COULTER QUOTES:
In the fall race at Martinsville Speedway, you started 12th and finished fifth. What do you expect going back there this weekend?
“I’m excited to get back behind the wheel of the No. 22 Chevrolet. I think finishing fifth the last time we were there has given us a lot of momentum going back to Martinsville Speedway. We had a fast truck at Daytona International Speedway, and I know Harold (Holly, crew chief) and the guys have built another good truck for this weekend’s race.”
What have you done with your month off from the Truck Series?
“I’ve actually started running some dirt racing with Wolf-Pack Racing. I ran a few weeks back in Bulls Gap, Tenn., and won my first dirt race. It was really cool. I have some other races that I’ll be running later in the season.”