Keys For Success — Martinsville

Saturday, Oct. 29, 2011

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Martinsville Speedway

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TUMS Fast Relief 500

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Keys for Success: TUMS Fast Relief 500

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (Oct. 29, 2011) – Each race weekend, selected Dodge Motorsports engineers, Penske Racing crew chiefs, engineers, drivers or engine specialists give their insight on the ‘Keys for Success’ for the upcoming race. This week, the green flag drops at Martinsville Speedway and the TUMS Fast Relief 500.

Track: Martinsville Speedway (Race 33 of 36 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series) Race: TUMS Fast Relief 500 Track Length: .526-mile (500 laps/263 miles)

Trivia Question: (Answer below) In addition to Martinsville Speedway and Richmond Raceway, how many other Virginia tracks have hosted a NASCAR Sprint Cup event?

HOWARD COMSTOCK (Dodge Motorsports Engineering)

A New Tire: “We have a new tire for the race. In the past, I think we’ve seen some instances of people pitting more frequently than necessary. The tire was good enough and could have been run longer, but some teams had a different opinion. They made more pit stops than they probably needed to, giving up track position. I think it’s been proven over the years that track position wins more races here than tires.

“Now, the game has changed. We have a softer tire this year. Without a lot of practice, teams have to be careful to realize the lesson’s that they learned last year may not apply at this race. It’s a new game.”

Where They Start: “We’re this far into the Chase; it’s OK that we start this way (on points). It’s an important race for everybody; it’s really important for the top eight. I think it’s OK they start on points tomorrow. It’s a level playing field when we start. Let the best team win. At least somebody didn’t get a bad break, a bad lap, a bad start that is going to cause the Chase to be changed significantly because of one bad qualifying lap. Let the guys that have proved themselves during the year start up front and let’s just race 500 laps.”

Brakes – An Issue: “I don’t think brakes will be an issue. The brake technology has become good enough that teams understand it and know how to manage it. The top-line drivers clearly understand you can’t go flat out for 500 laps here or you will run out of brakes. It’s brake management. The teams understand the technology, the drivers understand the limitations. I don’t think we will see brakes an issue.”

Mother Nature: “With temperatures in the 50s and the soft tire, it should be some fast laps. It will be a competitive race. There are a lot of people that are close enough (in the Chase) still that coasting is not going to cut it; you’re going to have to do some racing. There are enough people close, enough people right on the fringe that could get back in this thing. We’ve seen several drivers that we’ve considered completely out of it come back into the mix. I think there are some of those guys on the fringe that will be pressing pretty hard tomorrow based on the fact we’ve seen comebacks this year.”

Answer to trivia question: (Seven). Nine Virginia tracks have hosted 273 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races (does not include convertible events or Sunday’s race). Two tracks remain on the schedule – Martinsville (125) and Richmond (111). Of the seven tracks that are no longer on the Sprint Cup calendar, Boston Speedway hosted 10 events, Langley Field Speedway nine and Old Dominion Speedway seven. The other four tracks had a total of 11 races.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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