After the first five races of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit, the No. 83 BK Racing squad is 36th in the owner point standings, only five points outside of 35th place. Landon Cassill, driver of the No. 83 Burger King/Dr. Pepper Toyota, has one goal in mind for this weekend's Goody's Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway - to reclaim a spot in the top-35. Having driven for underfunded teams in the past, he knows the heartache and struggles associated with having to qualify into the race at each event. He sees this weekend as prime opportunity to move up standings and avoid joining the "go or go home" crowd at future events.
The No. 83 team's season has suffered from misfortunes in three of the five NSCS events this season. Two wrecks (Daytona International Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway) not of the driver's making, and a broken solenoid (Auto Club Speedway) have spoiled top-30 performances. Cassill aims to "survive" the inevitable beating and banging at Martinsville Speedway and climb the points ladder.
Cassill has three previous NSCS starts at Martinsville Speedway. This weekend's race will be his second attempt to complete all 500 laps of the event. Cassill's first attempt (April, 2011) yielded a 26th-place finish.
Comments from BK Racing driver Landon Cassill heading into Martinsville:
"It's really nice to be back on the east coast. We have Martinsville, then we have a weekend off, so we'll have a week and a half to be home and only three days of that will be at the race track. It will be nice to be able to catch up on a few things at home, but still focus on our race at Martinsville (Speedway) and then enjoy our weekend off for Easter. I plan on spending that time at home and I'm really excited about it.
"Our team's top priority is to get back inside the top-35. Of course the best way to do that is to have a solid performance this weekend, and we are definitely capable of that. Martinsville is definitely a tough place. It's 500 laps, which is a long time. I think it's probably harder than Bristol (Motor Speedway). It definitely doesn't go by as fast as Bristol does. It's going to be tough. It's a race of attrition and survival. That's a good thing for us. We can go out there and survive and put on a competitive race for our team and probably have a top-20 finish.
"You always hear that shorter tracks level the playing field. I still think the really good teams build their cars lighter. They still test at short tracks to prepare for places like Martinsville. I really don't look at our team as having an advantage or disadvantage there. Martinsville gives the driver a little better of a chance to make a difference, as opposed to a place like Daytona (International Speedway) or some of the big intermediates where the driver can't do as much. It's still a place where the team has to be put together well and well-prepared and go there and have the lightest car possible and see if you can get it to turn around those tight corners.
"I don't know if Martinsville is comfortable for anyone right away. It's a tough place. I've qualified well there in some of the lower-funded cars that I've driven. It's definitely a short track like some of the ones that I grew up racing. It's just a tricky, tricky, tricky race track that's hard to get used to, no matter what. There were a few drivers out there that tried to help and give me a few tips, but for the most part, you just go out there and try to adapt as quickly as you can."