There are four races to go in the 2013 Chase for the Sprint Cup, and this weekend the series visits Martinsville Speedway, home of the Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 Powered by Kroger on Sunday, October 27th. Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch are in the thick of the points battle, sitting second and third, respectively, but with the recent string of non-Chasers winning races, Denny Hamlin could be a strong candidate for a win at his home rack.
Kenseth, in the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry this weekend, hasn’t had the best results at Martinsville in past years, but that statistic could be deceiving. In the first 13 years of his career at Roush Fenway Racing, Kenseth accumulated eight top 10 finishes in 26 races at the “paperclip,” with a total of 73 laps led. This past spring, in his first Martinsville race for JGR, he finished 14th, but led 96 laps in the race.
Busch, in the No. 18 M&Ms Halloween Toyota, jumped back into the points mix with his second-straight fifth-place finish last weekend, moving from fifth to third in points and erasing 11 points from his deficit. At Martinsville, he has nine top 10 finishes in 17 starts, and finished fifth in the spring race.
Virginia native Hamlin, in the No. 11 FedEx One Rate Toyota, has four wins – including three straight from fall 2009 to fall 2010 – and 12 top 10 finishes in 15 races at his home track. He also has two straight October Truck Series wins, and looks for a three-peat as a driver for Kyle Busch Motorsports on Saturday in the Kroger 250.
JGR Nationwide Series driver Elliott Sadler makes his debut in the No. 55 RK Motors Collector Car Auctions Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing, subbing for Brian Vickers, who is out for the rest of the season with a blood clot in his leg. Also a Virginia native, Sadler has three top 10 finishes in 24 Cup Series starts at the track.
Qualifying for the Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 Powered by Kroger takes place Friday at 3:40 p.m. ET, with the race going green on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. ET. Keep up with the action at www.nascar.com and joegibbsracing.com.
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