MARTINSVILLE, Va. (March 21, 2011) – For about two hours Tuesday, Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton and Paul Menard talked about every racing topic under the sun as the trio of NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers were interviewed by about 30 media members.
While the three Richard Childress Racing drivers covered many different subjects, they agreed on one thing headed into the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 on April 3: racing at Martinsville Speedway is as tough as it comes. The fourth RCR driver, Kevin Harvick, had an excused absence for the day. He entertained the media last week in go-kart races.
Menard, the newest member of the RCR operation, is also the hottest these days. He’s fifth in the Sprint Cup points and has been in contention most every week this season. He only has one career top-15 finish at Martinsville, though.
“Martinsville is way more mental than physical. It definitely wears on you,” said Menard. “You have to put a lot into the cars. It’s very mental figuring out where you have to be. You have to position yourself to get to the bottom of the track, because if you don’t you’ll get freight-trained.”
Bowyer, who has one top five and five top-10 finishes in 10 starts at Martinsville, agrees with Menard.
“I’m telling you, you have to discipline yourself big time at Martinsville,” said Bowyer. “You have to slow everything down. You have to back up on the corner and let the car roll through the corner and have the car capable of doing that. If you have a car that you have to fight, it’s going to be a long weekend at Martinsville.”
Martinsville is Burton’s home track. He loves to race on the historic half-mile, and traditionally has done well. He has a one win in 33 starts at Martinsville, 10 top-five finishes and 15 top-10 finishes. He was in position to win last fall, but had a flat tire late in the race, one of several recent Martinsville mishaps for him.
“One thing about Martinsville is that it is a very difficult race track,” said Burton, who grew up about an hour east of the track in South Boston. “There are a lot of drivers that go to Martinsville that don’t have a chance to win because it is so unique. It is so different that it puts some people in a position where their skill set just doesn’t work at that track. It doesn’t mean they are a worse driver, it just means their skill set doesn’t work for Martinsville.”
Tickets for the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 weekend are on sale and may be purchased by calling 877.RACE.TIX or by visiting www.martinsvillespeedway.com.
Ticket prices for the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 range from $35 to $77.