MARTINSVILLE, Va. (October 25, 2011) – Jeff Gordon rolls into Martinsville Speedway this weekend pretty much out of this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup, but it doesn’t mean the four-time champion won’t have a huge impact on the weekend.
Actually, with his Martinsville Speedway success, Gordon could prove to be a Chase spoiler this weekend. He comes into the TUMS Fast Relief 500 10th in the standings, 82 points behind leader Carl Edwards.
But Martinsville Speedway is Gordon’s house. He has seven victories in 37 career starts, the most among active drivers at Martinsville. Gordon also owns an average start of seventh and an average finish of seventh. His has finished outside of the top10 just once in his last 17 starts at Martinsville, finishing in 20th-place in 2010.
Conversely Edwards has never won at Martinsville Speedway, has led only 14 laps on the tough half-mile oval and has just one top-five finish in his career at Martinsville.
“We’ve run well and led laps recently, we just haven’t got the win to show for it.” said Gordon. “At times during some of the races, I thought we had the best car. But it doesn’t seem we’ve had the winning combination at the end of races.”
Gordon’s 30 top-10s and laps led lead all active drivers while he is just 19 laps led shy of 3,000. He owns 11 more top-five finishes than any other driver at Martinsville with 24 since his 1993 debut.
Although his last win at Martinsville came in 2005 when he took the checkered flag in both events, winning from the 16th and 15th positions that season.
“I always go to Martinsville with a lot of confidence,” said Gordon. “It is a very challenging track, but we seem to get into a rhythm and seem to be very competitive here – no matter the cars, the tires or any other changes that we’ve had over the years.”
He is not the only one with cause to walk in with confidence this weekend, as defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson has won at Martinsville six times in his career, most recently in the spring of 2009. Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart are the only drivers in the top-five in standings with wins at the shortest track on the circuit. Harvick won the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 in the spring while Stewart has taken the checkered flag at Martinsville twice in his career (2000, 2006).
FIVE-TIME AND MISS SPRINT AT MARTINSVILLE: Five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Johnson and Miss Sprint Cup will be available for questions from 10:45 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday at The Sprint Experience in the Martinsville Speedway midway. One lucky fan will have the chance to square off against Johnson in the champion’s new video game, “Anything With An Engine,” on a big screen television.
JUST TREATS FOR KIDS AFTER KROGER 200: The Martinsville Speedway midway will be transformed into the largest trick-or-treat zone from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday. Dozens of souvenir rigs gathered around the midway will hand out goodies for youngsters trick-or-treating.
Under the bright red Martinsville Speedway tent, several NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers, including Joey Coulter, Timothy Peters, Matt Lofton, Josh Richards and Dakoda Armstrong as well as Clay Campbell, Martinsville Speedway President, will be treating children to candy and other goodies.
The Martinsville midway and souvenir area is located across the fourth-turn are of the track, adjacent to the Bill France Tour.
THE SCHEDULE: The first on-track action at Martinsville Speedway will be a practice session for the Kroger 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at 11 a.m. Friday, kicking off a day full of excitement. It will be followed by practice for the TUMS Fast Relief 500 and another Kroger 200 practice.
Time trials for the Kroger 200 begin at 10:40 a.m. on Saturday with qualifying for the TUMS Fast Relief 500 scheduled for 12:10 p.m.
There will be back-to-back Sprint Cup practice sessions beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, with the Kroger 200 taking the green flag at 2 p.m.
The TUMS Fast Relief 500 is set to begin at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.
Fan gates open at 9 a.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
TICKETS: Tickets for the TUMS Fast Relief 500 begin at $25 and range to $77.
Tickets to Farm Bureau Pole Day and the Kroger 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on October 29 are $30 in advance, $35 on the day of the race, with children 12 and under admitted free.