RIDGEWAY, Va.— Tire wear and tire management will be crucial in today’s STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway.
Goodyear has brought a new right-side tire to Martinsville. This new tire was developed to help rubber-in the concrete-asphalt combination at Martinsville. The concrete corners at Martinsville provided a challange for Goodyear because they behave differently and the density of the surface.
Goodyear hopes this tire combination will optimize acceleration, deceleration, and cornering that is required at the track.
Teams have eight sets of tires to use for the STP 500. That is two sets less than what teams had last year.
With Friday’s rains washing away the rubber laid down on the track from one Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) practice.
Two MENCS practices, NCWTS qualifying, and the Alpha Energy Solutions 250 helped rubber in the track on Saturday,
Chase Elliott, the Alpha Energy Solutions 250 race winner, talked about how the complexion of that race changed and expectations for today’s race.
“The temperatures are definitely up from what we typically see in this race. To me, the race track is taking on lots of rubber way quicker than it typically does. Typically, you don’t see rubber laid down in the truck race and don’t see it laid down until halfway through the Cup race. The fact that it is blackening up today, I think will probably lend itself to see some Martinsville of old with guys moving around. It’s going to be darkened up really fast,” said Elliott post-race.
When asked about tire wear on the left side, Elliott showed no concern.
The STP 500 is slated to drop the green flag at 2:13 p.m. EST on Fox Sports 1 and Motor Racing Network.
RIDGEWAY, Va.— After beating and banging for 250 laps and a late race charge from Johnny Sauter, Chase Elliott was victorious in the Alpha Energy Solutions 250 from Martinsville Speedway.
“Obviously, we had a little help with (Bell’s) misfortune, but once we got by him, I thought our truck was a little better than his,” said Elliott to FOX in Victory Lane. “It was just a matter of getting by (Sauter) quickly and doing it decently, in a quick manner. Luckily, we only had to do it once with it staying green until the end.”
This is Elliott’s second victory in 12 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events, his first of 2017.
The first stage was dominated by Chase Elliott. Elliott chose the inside lane to start the race. The caution flew shortly after the green flag fell for oil on the track by the No. 1 car of Bryce Napier. NASCAR did warn Elliott after the initial start about pulling down too soon on restarts. Towards the end of the stage, Johnny Sauter was catching Elliott while they were in lapped traffic. Elliott went on to win the stage, Sauter finished second, Matt Crafton finished third, Christopher Bell finished fourth, and Grant Enfinger rounded out the top-five in the first stage. The caution flew twice in this stage for eight laps.
Elliott lost that lead as the field went down pit road between the start of the second stage. Bell took two tires on pit-road to gain the lead.
When the second stage began, Sauter was able to pass Bell to dominate the stage. On the first restart in this stage, Sauter chose the inside lane, but Bell tried to push him down. However, Sauter was able to hash the lead. The complexion of the stage changed as drivers like Elliott and Bell hit pit toad with 12 laps remaining in the stage. The stage ended under the caution due to Elliott dumping Ross Chastain on lap 137. Sauter went on to win the stage, Crafton finished second, Chase Briscoe was third, Timothy Peters was fourth, and Grant Enfinger rounded out the top-five at the conclusion of the stage. The caution flew five times in the stage for 38 laps.
As the leaders pitted between the stages, Bell moved up to the first position, Elliott was second, Brett Moffit was third, Enfinger,and Joe Nemechek were the top-five on the restart to begin the final stage.
Bell was the dominate car in the final stage, but late-race aggression and lapped traffic cost him the victory. As the stage was in the final 50 laps, Bell, Elliott, Sauter, and Noah Gragson were within a second of each other battling for the lead. As they progressed through the field, lapped traffic began to separate the drivers. As Bell reached Austin Cindric, Cindric attempted to stay on the lead lap. Bell was frustrated with Cindric and dumped him in the first turn. However, with the move to dump Cindric, Bell lost the lead to Elliott. As the race restarted with 12 laps remain, Elliott throw a successful block on Sauter to go on and score the victory at Martinsville.
Sauter finished second, Bell finished third, Gragson finished fourth, and Ty Dillon rounded out the top-five in the Alpha Energy Solutions 250.
The race ran for two hours, one minute, and 38 seconds. The average speed of the race was 64.867 mph.
The next race for the drivers will be at Kansas Speedway for the Toyota Tundra 250 on May 12th at 8:30 p.m. EST on Fox Sports 1 and Motor Racing Network.
RIDGEWAY, Va.— Chase Elliott will start from the pole in today’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Alpha Energy Solutions 250 from Martinsville Speedway.
In the first round of qualifying, Chase Briscoe was fastest at 94.789 mph,Elliott was second fastest at 94.463 mph, Grant Enfinger was third fastest at 94.279 mph, Johnny Sauter was fourth fastest at 94.256 mph, and Timothy Peters rounded out the top-five at 94.106 mph. Austin Wayne Self, Norm Benning, and Charles Buchanan Jr. are the three drivers who will be heading home and not racing today.
In the second round of qualifying , Sauter was fastest at 94.855 mph, Elliott was second fastest at 95.543 mph, Christopher Bell was third fastest at 94.265 mph, Peters was fourth fastest at 94.200 mph, and Chase Briscoe rounded out the top-five at 94.143 mph.
In the final round, Elliott was fastest at 94.951 mph, Sauter will start second with a speed of 94.803 mph, Peters will start third with a speed of 94.331 mph, Matt Crafton will start fourth at a speed of 94.214mph, and Ross Chastain will round out the top-five at a speed of 93.891 mph.
Truck drivers will hit the track at 3:00 p.m. EST for the Alpha Energy Solutions 250. FOX and Motor Racing Network will have the TV and radio broadcasts.
RIDGEWAY, Va— In his first time at Martinsville Speedway, Daniel Suarez kicked off the first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice by getting a backup car prepared.
Suarez hit the wall going into the third turn resulting in the back end of the car being damaged.
“It just wheel hopped. I don’t know what was going on with my brakes. It was something weird. On the first run I felt something similar. Something was weird with my brakes and I just wheel hopped and here we are,” said Suarez after the accident.
However, things have changed drastically this week for Suarez.
Joe Gibbs Racing announced that Dave Rogers would be taking an indefinite leave of absence. Scott Graves was announced as the crew chief until Rogers comes back.
Suarez found out about Rogers at the same time as everyone else early Wednesday evening.
“I pretty much got to know this almost at the same time as you guys. It was something that took me as a surprise and actually it took him as a surprise as well.”
Suarez understands and respects Rogers and the decision he has made. However, he does not know when the return of Rogers will be.
Luckily for Suarez, he will be working with Graves, his crew chief in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Suarez and Graves were able to win the championship in 2016.
It was important for Suarez and Joe Gibbs Racing to put somebody in that knows the style of Suarez.
“I had some input for sure to put Scott in the seat because I know Scott. I know what he can do. I know what we’ve done together. It was important to put somebody there that I knew already.”
What does Graves know about Suarez?
“I was expecting to race with him more than 14, 15 times in XFINITY stuff this year so we know him very well. He knows what I need to be fast. He knows my weak points as well. I think having Scott jump into the Cup program I think is important. And I hope we don’t have to get back any. I hope we stay the same or even forward. And try to move from there.”
In his rookie season, Suarez sits 19th in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points standings. He comes into Martinsville with back-to-back top-10 finishes.
RIDGEWAY, Va— Officials from NASCAR and Martinsville Speedway have announced that all on track activity for the remainder of the day has been cancelled.
Ever changing weather played into the decision by NASCAR and Martinsville on Friday. However, the weather for the remainder of the weekend looks perfect.
The field for the STP 500 for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will be set by the rule book. The field will be set by owner’s points giving Kyle Larson the pole, while Chase Elliott will start second.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers will hit the track on Saturday beginning at 11:00 a.m. EST for the first of two practices of the day.