Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sprint Cup 2012: Race 6: Martinsville -- Red Hot Clock Work on Historic Track

Martinsville is one of the most enjoyable stops on the Sprint Cup tour, a true throwback to the early days of the sport when the glare of big media lights, super speedways, and cookie-cutter sameness was not an issue. Having just seen short track racing two weeks ago at Bristol, Martinsville is the other half mile track on the circuit, but its short length is the only similarity with its sister track to the west. While Bristol is a high-tech engineering marvel, at Martinsville “what you see is what you get,” a rustic flat paperclip shaped track with concrete for the inside lanes in the turns. Set in small town Virginia next to a railroad track is rural Americana; so much so, it’s a rather substantial distance from the facility nestled in the Virginia Mountains. Thankfully despite NASCAR’s recent inability to pack its tracks, quirky little Martinsville continues to hold its own while other more unique tracks North Wilkesboro, Rockingham, and one date at Darlington have been surrendered to the giant cookie cutter raceways. Rockingham has its own traditions from its flaming bright red jumbo hotdogs to the lovely Ridgeway Grandfather clocks awarded as trophies with unique racing action to match.

In looking at the starting lineup for the Goody’s Fast Relief 500, one has to wonder, where are the Fords? The “blue ovals” have been strong in 2012, but technique and setup are more important than brute force at Martinsville. The highest Ford qualifier rests in 12th place, Marcos Ambrose in the #9 ride. Kasey Kahne whose ability to finish races has been frustration gains his second pole of the year in the #6 Chevrolet with Kevin Harvick in the #29 Chevy on the outside row.

Here’s how they line up.
15Kasey KahneChevroletHendrickCars.com97.128
229Kevin HarvickChevroletBudweiser is Back97.048
311Denny HamlinToyotaFedEx Freight97.003
415Clint BowyerToyota5-hour Energy97.003
539Ryan NewmanChevroletOutback Steak House96.988
655Brian VickersToyotaRK Motors96.765
72Brad KeselowskiDodgeMiller Lite96.751
818Kyle BuschToyotaM&M's96.745
924Jeff GordonChevroletDrive to End Hunger96.731
1020Joey LoganoToyotaThe Home Depot96.706
1127Paul MenardChevroletLibman / Menards96.701
129Marcos AmbroseFordDewalt96.627
1356Martin Truex Jr.ToyotaNAPA Auto Parts96.583
1488Dale Earnhardt Jr.ChevroletAmp Energy / National Guard96.43
1514Tony StewartChevroletOffice Depot / Mobil 196.322
1647Bobby LabonteToyotaBush's Baked Beans96.215
1778Regan SmithChevroletFurniture Row / CSX "Play it Safe"96.2
1831Jeff BurtonChevroletBB&T96.18
1943Aric AlmirolaFordSmithfield "Helping Hungry Homes"96.049
201Jamie McMurrayChevroletBelkin96.049
2117Matt KensethFordStephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation / Gary Sinise Foundation95.971
2248Jimmie JohnsonChevroletMyLowe's95.854
2398Michael McDowellFordCurb Records95.849
2434David RaganFordFront Row Motorsports95.83
2513Casey MearsFordGEICO95.796
2616Greg BiffleFord3M95.743
2722AJ AllmendingerDodgeShell / Pennzoil95.738
2899Carl EdwardsFordFastenal95.607
2910David ReutimannChevroletAccell Construction95.607
3026Josh Wise*FordMorristown Driver's Service95.583
3183Landon CassillToyotaBurger King / Dr Pepper95.511
3242Juan MontoyaChevroletTarget95.477
3323Scott RiggsChevroletNorth Texas Pipe95.352
3493Travis KvapilToyotaBurger King / Dr Pepper95.347
3574Reed SorensonChevroletTurn One Racing95.223
3632Ken SchraderFordFederated Auto Parts95.127
3787Joe / Pellet & Wood Stoves94.936
3838David GillilandFordLong John Silver's94.78
3930David StremmeToyotaInception Motorsports94.609
4051Kurt BuschChevroletPhoenix Construction Services94.566
4133Hermie SadlerChevroletAnderson's Maple Syrup94.486
4236Dave Blaney+ChevroletOllie's Bargain Outlet93.18
43249J.J. YeleyToyotaJPO Absorbents93.212
Did Not Qualify
4452Scott SpeedToyotaCrusader Staffing Associates92.101
45119Mike BlissToyotaHumphrey Smith Racing84.846
4637Tony RainesFordPoynt.com93.757

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