Martinsville Speedway - Nothing Like It
MARTINSVILLE, VA - RIS - One year ago, the weather was frightful. It started snowing after just a few laps and it didnt quit until the next day-the day of the Cup race. Several inches of snow fell, and the race was postponed. I was stuck in a motel room. Today is as different as can be. Bright sun has replaced the white stuff, and instead it's clear blue skies and a warm 56 degrees. It's going to be 70 by mid race.
I thought I had seen everything, but being here is worth a little snow. No snow today, but you can expect great racing. No more aerodynamic worries, just beating and banging in the best tradition of NASCAR.
Joey Logano sits on the pole and is followed by Aric Almirola, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick-all in Fords from either Team Penske or Stewart-Haas Racing-and Denny Hamlin. At this track, nicknamed "the paper clip," qualifying position means little these days. It's all about the drivers and the skill they certainly have.
The track sits about 60 miles from Roanoke, Virginia to the north and 50 miles north of Greensboro, North Carolina on US Route 220. The people at the track treat you like they've known you all your life. Greating fans and media always comes with a smile. And thode hot dogs! The dog itself is bright red. It's served on a steamed bun. The bravest of us get the hot dog "all the way." I really don't know all the ingridents, but you can see onions, mustard, chili, and red barbeque cole slaw. There is nothing like it anywhere. At a cost of $2.00, I'll probably blow $20 on them this weekend.
The racing itself is vintage NASCAR short track fare. The preferred grove is the bottom, but lately we've seen passes made at the top. Drop kicking a slower competitor out of the way is standard equipment throughout the field. The speeds are slow by speedway standards, Logano's pole speed was 97.30 mph, and a lap takes about 20 seconds. The race is measured in laps insteadof miles, and there are 500 exciting laps or 2,000 corners.
Yes, there is nothing like it.
RIS NASCAR Editor. Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.