RCR Race Preview: Martinsville Speedway

Richard Childress Racing in the NASCAR Cup Series at Martinsville Speedway… In 186 NASCAR Cup Series starts at Martinsville Speedway, RCR has seven victories, including five by Dale Earnhardt (1985-fall, 1987-spring, 1988-spring, 1991-spring, and 1995-fall). Ricky Rudd won the fall race at Martinsville in 1983, which was RCR’s first Cup Series win on an oval. Kevin Harvick won the 2011 spring race at Martinsville, his first victory at the .526-mile paved speedway. The team owns 31 top-five and 65 top-10 finishes entering Sunday afternoon’s race. 


Richard Childress Racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Martinsville Speedway… RCR has one NASCAR Xfinity Series victory at Martinsville Speedway. Kevin Harvick captured the 2006 event in dominating fashion, leading 149 of 250 laps. Clint Bowyer, Harvick’s teammate, finished a close second, crossing the finish line .271 seconds behind. Harvick and Bowyer combined to lead 207 of the event’s 250 laps enroute to a 1-2 finish. In 11 NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Martinsville Speedway, the Welcome, N.C., based team has one win, one pole, four top-five and five top-10 finishes. 


Do You Remember? Ricky Rudd’s Martinsville Speedway victory in September 1983 was an impressive accomplishment for both himself and RCR. Rudd started second and dominated the 500-lap race, leading 380 laps and outrunning championship leaders Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip to win, crossing the finish line 4.5-second ahead of Allison. 


Catch the Action on Saturday… The NASCAR Xfinity Series Martinsville 250 at Martinsville Speedway will be televised live on Saturday, October 28, beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET on USA and the NBC Sports App. The race will be broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90. 

Follow Sunday’s Action at Martinsville Speedway… The NASCAR Cup Series Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway will be televised live on Sunday, October 29, beginning at 2 p.m. ET on NBC and the NBC Sports App. The race will be broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.

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Austin Dillon and the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER OFF Road Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at Martinsville Speedway… In 19 NASCAR Cup Series starts at Martinsville Speedway, Dillon boasts three top-five and three top-10 finishes. He earned his best finish of third in April 2022 at the half-mile short track after starting from the 23rd position. Dillon finished 12th in the spring race earlier this year after starting 18th. Dillon has made five appearances at Martinsville Speedway in the NASCAR Truck Series, earning his best finish of third in October 2011.


About TRACKER OFF Road Dillon’s No. 3 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 prominently features TRACKER ATVs, a game-changing new line of all-terrain vehicles and side-by-sides offering breakthrough performance, service, and value in the off-road industry. TRACKER OFF ROAD was born out of a powerhouse partnership formed between Bass Pro Shops and TRACKER founder Johnny Morris and Textron Specialized Vehicles, bringing together the undisputed world leader in boating with a global leader in innovation and technology.


About Bass Pro Shops… Bass Pro Shops is North America’s premier outdoor and conservation company. Founded in 1972 when avid young angler Johnny Morris began selling tackle out of his father’s liquor store in Springfield, Missouri, today the company provides customers with unmatched offerings spanning premier destination retail, outdoor equipment manufacturing, world-class resort destinations and more. In 2017 Bass Pro Shops acquired Cabela’s to create a “best-of-the-best” experience with superior products, dynamic locations and outstanding customer service. Bass Pro Shops also operates White River Marine Group, offering an unsurpassed collection of industry-leading boat brands, and Big Cedar Lodge, America’s Premier Wilderness Resort. Under the visionary conservation leadership of Johnny Morris, Bass Pro Shops is a national leader in protecting habitat and introducing families to the outdoors and has been named by Forbes as “one of America’s Best Employers.” Bass Pro Shops has a long relationship with NASCAR, dating back to 1998. For more information, visit http://www.basspro.com/



How do you feel about Martinsville Speedway this weekend?

“I’m looking forward to racing at Martinsville Speedway this weekend. Martinsville has been good to our No. 3 Chevrolet team over the years, and I believe that if we can have a good starting position and a clean pit road day, we will have a chance to race in the top 10. Martinsville is the smallest points track we race on so being aggressive will be key for 500 laps when the time calls for it. This past spring, we finished 12th in the race here, so I am confident that we can improve our performance. This time of year is my favorite to be in Virginia because of the great weather and of course, the famous hotdogs in Martinsville. This is going to be a very exciting race for the fans.”


Kyle Busch and the No. 8 BetMGM Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at Martinsville Speedway… Kyle Busch will be making his 37th start at Martinsville Speedway in the NASCAR Cup Series this weekend. The driver of the BetMGM Chevrolet has two victories at the .526-mile oval (2016-spring and 2017-fall). His victory in 2016 came in dominating fashion. Busch led 352 of 500 laps and boasted an average running position in the race of 1.49, becoming the first driver to score a NASCAR national series sweep at Martinsville Speedway (he won the Truck Series race the day prior to his Cup victory). In 2017, Busch claimed his second Martinsville victory in NASCAR Overtime when he held off Martin Truex Jr. Busch also has two pole positions at Martinsville Speedway (2014 and 2018). He has led 1,429 laps in Cup competition at the track, third-best among active drivers.

Did You Know? Entering this weekend’s race, Busch has been running at the finish in 35 consecutive Martinsville Speedway races. He has 21 top-10 finishes at the Virginia short track, averaging a top-10 finish in 58.3 percent of those races. 


Tight Points Battle… Busch enters Martinsville Speedway in 12th-place in the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings, nine points behind 10th and 12 points ahead of 13th. 


About BetMGM… BetMGM is a market-leading sports betting and gaming entertainment company, pioneering the online gaming industry. Born out of a partnership between MGM Resorts International and Entain Group, BetMGM has exclusive access to all of MGM’s U.S. land-based and online sports betting, major tournament poker, and online gaming businesses. Utilizing Entain’s U.S.-licensed, state-of-the-art technology, BetMGM offers sports betting and online gaming via market-leading brands, including BetMGM, Borgata Casino, Party Casino, and Party Poker. Founded in 2018, BetMGM is headquartered in New Jersey.


Always Bet Responsibly. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, Call 1-800-GAMBLER.



Do you think that Martinsville Speedway is the most challenging short track on the schedule?

“Martinsville Speedway is a challenging short track. I think with the Next Gen race car it’s become a bigger challenge just with the fact that everybody is a lot closer. Little setup differences with the old car meant an awful lot in speed and it seems like little setup differences with this car doesn’t really mean a whole lot so everybody runs the same speed no matter what. It just makes it tough to pass. Track position is everything. The aero affects when you get behind guys. It makes it tough to move around and find grip in other grooves in order to make moves. It seemed like with the old car you could definitely follow a lot better and keep yourself closer to the guy in front of you so if he made a little, tiny mistake you could pounce on that and make a pass.


How physically and mentally demanding is racing at Martinsville Speedway?

“The racing at Martinsville Speedway is pretty demanding. You’re on the brakes all the time and steering all the time. You’re trying to feel that grip and not slip. You want to carry your speed as fast as you can while off the gas. The biggest thing that I learned that made me better at Martinsville Speedway is how fast can you go slow. You actually spend more of the lap off the throttle than you do on the throttle so it’s about figuring out how to go slow fast.”  


How important is it to qualify well at Martinsville Speedway, not only for track position to start the race but also regarding pit selection?

“Qualifying well at Martinsville Speedway is now more important than what it once was. I remember it used to be that it didn’t matter how you qualified. I was never a really good qualifier at Martinsville but you could always race towards the front, pick up some positions on pit road, and get myself in a good position for the end of the race. I think track position and pit selection with qualifying well is very important. There’s four to five really, really good pit stalls on pit road and if you can get one of those pit stalls then that can really make or break your day on pit road.”


Sheldon Creed and the No. 2 Whelen Engineering Chevrolet Camaro SS at Martinsville Speedway… Sheldon Creed has three career NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Martinsville Speedway, all coming behind the wheel of the No. 2 Whelen Engineering Chevrolet. In the 2022 fall event at the paperclip-shaped track, the 26-year-old started from the second position and also finished in second-place. In addition, Creed has five NASCAR Truck Series starts on his resume at the track, earning one pole (2020) and two top-10 finishes (2020-2021).


Must Win Situation… With one race remaining in the Round of 8 for the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs, Creed finds himself in a must win situation. The No. 2 Whelen Camaro team will need to win Saturday’s event in order to advance to compete for the championship next week at Phoenix Raceway.


Meet Creed… On Saturday, October 28 at 1:15 p.m. ET, Creed is scheduled to make an appearance at the Chevrolet Display located in the Fan Midway at Martinsville Speedway. The Alpine, Cali. native will participate in a question and answer session with host Johnny D. Stop by to see Creed before the green flag waves.


About Whelen Engineering… Whelen Engineering is a family-owned company with a pioneering spirit and a passion to protect the lives of those who protect and serve others. The company mission is to provide industry-defining safety solutions around the world, while creating a community of problem-solvers who are inspired to push boundaries and continue our legacy of delivering ground-breaking innovation. As a global leader in the emergency warning industry, Whelen has been trusted to perform since 1952, when George Whelen III invented the first rotating aviation beacon. Whelen now encompasses two state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Connecticut and New Hampshire with over 750,000 square feet of engineering and manufacturing space and the largest design staff in the industry. Every part of every Whelen product is proudly designed and manufactured in America. We embrace quality as our foundation, we celebrate innovative engineering in every product we produce.



You earned a second-place finish last fall at Martinsville Speedway. Did the No. 2 team learn anything that can transfer to this weekend?

“I think so. Our Whelen Chevrolet has practiced and qualified well each time we have been at Martinsville Speedway, which has set us up well for the race. Last fall, I didn’t think we raced great, but we played out a good race and were able to survive at the end to finish second. Hopefully we can improve our race pace overall for Saturday. I still feel like we will be able to practice and qualify well, but we have tried to change the car up a little bit to help our race pace and race better around others. One of the keys to having a good day at Martinsville is surviving and having good restarts during green-white-checkers at the end.”


What do you need out of the car to run well at Martinsville Speedway?

“In the past, we have started up front and stayed there for the first 30 or 40 laps, but then we grow tight in center and lack drive on exit. Our game plan has been to determine what we can give up to gain drive on exit and help the center of the corner. We have worked a lot on that in the sim this week and I feel like we got to a good place. Hopefully that translates into racing well in real life.”


Do you enjoy racing at Martinsville Speedway?

“It’s actually one of my favorite short tracks. I’ve also been decent there since the Truck Series days and as long as it stays green, I usually always have good days. But when it gets to carnage at the end, it’s 50/50 whether you are on the good or bad side of it.”


Austin Hill and the No. 21 Global Industrial Chevrolet Camaro SS at Martinsville Speedway… Austin Hill has three career NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Martinsville Speedway, posting two top-10 finishes in 2022 while driving the No. 21 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. During the fall race last season, Hill started from the 36th position and drove forward to claim a ninth-place result. The 29-year-old also has 11 NASCAR Truck Series starts at the Ridgeway, Virginia facility, earning one top-five (second in 2021) and three top-10 finishes.


Three Points to the Good… With one race remaining to decide the Championship Four in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs, Hill currently sits three points above the cutline. The No. 21 Chevrolet driver will need to earn stage points and finish with a competitive result to move on from the Round of 8.


Meet Hill… On Saturday, October 28 at 1:30 p.m. ET, Hill is scheduled to make an appearance at the Chevrolet Display located in the Fan Midway at Martinsville Speedway. The Winston, Georgia native will participate in a question and answer session with host Johnny D. Stop by to see Hill before the green flag waves.


About Global Industrial Company… Global Industrial Company (NYSE:GIC), through its operating subsidiaries, is a value-added distributor. For more than 70 years, Global Industrial has gone the extra mile for its customers and offers more than a million industrial and MRO products, including its own Global Industrial Exclusive Brands™. With extensive product knowledge and a solutions-based approach, Global Industrial helps customers solve problems to be more successful. At Global Industrial, “We can supply that®.”



What are your thoughts heading into Martinsville Speedway? Do you enjoy racing at the paperclip-shaped oval?

“Yes and no honestly. A lot of the time, especially at the end of the race, people drive into the corner and drive into the back of you. It can be annoying, because you know you’re going to be hit constantly and you can never get into a rhythm unless you’re in the top-five. If you’re up front, you can get away and get into a rhythm. But if you are mired back in traffic and running in 15th, you never see what your car is capable of because you’re always guarding from behind. I like Martinsville Speedway when you go out for practice and the way the track drives, but the way that the competition races there is a little iffy.”


What do you need in order to perform well at Martinsville Speedway?

“You need a good race car. Your car needs to be really good and stable on entry, not loose or sliding the left front under braking, and then be able to roll to the center. It doesn’t matter if your speed slows down in the center, as you can get a really good drive off to pull away from them. I think that’s where the guys who win there are successful. But racing at Martinsville is kind of like Daytona and Talladega in a sense, where you can have a really fast car, but a late race restart happens where you get ran over and you are left finishing 30th. I’m kind of torn of whether I like the place or not.”