Martinsville Quotes and Notes
Denny Hamlin Quotes
Can you contend for the victory this weekend at Martinsville?
“This year — the spring race is the one race where we did just not run well. We had some setup issues that we found in the car afterwards, after the race was over — some mistakes that we made with our setup. Basically, putting the wrong pieces in the wrong places. So, that is hopefully why we ran so bad in the spring where we finished decent but not great. And so hopefully that’s rectified. Honestly, we look forward to going back. Especially, as good as our short track program’s been here in the last few races — between New Hampshire and Richmond — that don’t necessarily correlate, but still it drives like a short track.”
FedEx Express Notes
Kansas Recap: Denny Hamlin drove the No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota to a 13th-place finish Sunday at Kansas Speedway and continues to hold third place in the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup points standings with four races remaining. Sunday’s event saw a season-high 14 caution flags in the first competition on the new asphalt. A solid qualifying run put the FedEx car ninth on the grid to start the day. Adjusting to the new surface under racing conditions quickly proved to give many teams difficulty. The FedEx crew fought for most of the day to make adjustments and improve the car’s handling. The fortunes for the team turned around when crew chief Darian Grubb seized an opportunity to get back into the race. Under the eighth caution period, Grubb kept the car on the track as many of the leaders decided to pit on lap 155. The move catapulted the FedEx team to second place, just behind the No. 55 of Mark Martin. On lap 208, Hamlin’s fuel window was closing in and the team was forced to pit again under green flag racing. After receiving four tires and fuel, the FedEx machine was back on the track in 25th place. Unfortunately for the team, a caution shortly after provided the leaders a chance to refuel and negated any fuel window strategy.
Martinsville Preview: The Series heads to Martinsville Speedway for Sunday’s 500-lap event on the half-mile ‘paper clip’ in southern Virginia. Undoubtedly one of Hamlin’s best tracks, the Virginia native owns four Cup Series victories in 14 career starts at Martinsville. His 113.4 driver rating at the track is third-best among active drivers, trailing only Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon, and he holds an average finish of 6.4. Hamlin has led laps in 10 of 14 Martinsville starts, including each of the last seven races and 1,127 in his career. In the spring event at Martinsville, Hamlin started third and finished sixth, leading 31 laps in the race won by Ryan Newman. Hamlin’s first victory at Martinsville came in March 2008, followed by three-consecutive wins at the track in the fall event in 2009 and a season sweep in 2010. He has also captured two Martinsville poles.
Kyle Busch Quotes
You’ve had good racecars at Martinsville the last few seasons, even though the results don’t necessarily do them justice. How have you been able to improve at Martinsville?
“I think the biggest strides of improvement have come from just working with Denny (Hamlin, teammate) and really getting his knowledge of how to get around the place. He’s very good there. Learning his technique a little bit and getting to drive his cars. When I would go there years ago, we would run my setup and kind of go on our own way. But, more recently, it’s just been to put in whatever the 11 (Hamlin) has got and then figure it out. That’s really helped us.”
Is Martinsville a racetrack where you have to show a lot of patience?
“For sure. It’s certainly a racetrack that you can be leading the race and think you’ve got a shot to win the thing in the last 30 laps and then getting beat on from behind and getting moved out of the way. We did that. It’s certainly a racetrack that’s indicative that, if you’re just a little bit off, then the guys are going to be right on your rear bumper and trying to get by you. For us, it’s been a challenge but we’re getting better at it and learning some more as we go along. We would like to be able to continue that there this weekend.”
Is it possible to make it through a Martinsville race unscathed?
“There are some guys there who can run around Martinsville and not have a mark on their car when the race is all said and done and they finish in a good spot. My first couple times there, I think I had every corner ripped off of it and was finishing in the 20s and then I finally figured out what to do and how to do it and then I started running well and picking up some top-fives a little bit and not having a mark on the car. It seems it’s easier when you’re a little bit better or you’re a little bit smarter, when you know who you’re racing and when you’re car’s good to come out of there with a good day and not be torn up too much. There’s always some times where somebody just wants to drive into you for something to do and move you out of the way and cause some chaos. You’ll have those moments, too, at Martinsville.”
What is the key to you getting a win at Martinsville?
“I’d like to think we’re really close. We’ve been good there – last spring we ran really good. We ran third and led a lot of laps. We ran up front and toward the end of the race, I just didn’t quite have enough forward bite off the corners. I think (Dale Earnhardt) Junior got by me and then (Kevin) Harvick got by me. It’s a tough racetrack and, anytime you come in the pits and make an adjustment on your car, you certainly hope it goes the right way, or you make enough of it, or you don’t make too much of an adjustment. It seems like I haven’t quite scienced that out for the last run there. The last run can be tricky, too, because you can be coming off a 50-lap run on right-side tires and take four and you’ve only got 30 (laps) to go, or you could have 80 to go and you know you have to manage that run all the way to the end. It’s something that those guys – I would say Denny (Hamlin), Jimmie (Johnson), Jeff (Gordon) – are the best at doing that and knowing how hard to push for exactly how many laps, where I have to work on that.”
Your racecar is sporting the special M&M’s Halloween paint scheme again this week. What was your favorite Halloween costume you wore as a kid?
“Actually, one year I went as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. I think that was my favorite costume as a kid. I was Michelangelo and I even had the fake nunchuk. One year, I was a football player and, one year, I even dressed up as Jeff Gordon since he was my favorite racecar driver when I was a kid.”
Growing up in Las Vegas, what do you remember about Halloween and trick-or-treating?
“It was always cold in Las Vegas during Halloween, even though it can be really hot most of the year. I guess the biggest memory was going out to everyone’s house and trick-or-treating and hanging out with friends as a group. Sometimes, people wouldn’t be home, so they had a bucket out and you would reach in and grab whatever you wanted out of the bucket. It was all about how much candy you could collect, not necessarily about how much you would eat when you got home.”
What was your favorite kind of candy?
“Mainly, everyone always had the fun packs. Back then, which wasn’t that long ago, the fun size pack of M&M’s was always really popular, and I’m sure that hasn’t changed too much, even now.”
Kyle Busch: Many More Treats than Tricks at Martinsville
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Oct. 23, 2012) – It’s almost time for Halloween and, for Kyle Busch, there are memories of a time when not many things were spookier than having to make one of his semiannual visits to Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
That’s because, during a three-race stretch starting in the spring of 2008, the Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) driver who will sport a special M&M’s Halloween Fun Packs paint scheme for Sunday’s TUMS Fast Relief 500 never finished better than 24th at the .526-mile paperclip-shaped oval.
Busch’s fortunes at Martinsville began to turn around with a solid fourth-place finish in the fall of 2009, and then came new crew chief Dave Rogers. In March 2010, during his first full season under Rogers’ guidance, Busch was running second at Martinsville when a late-race caution forced a decision by the No. 18 team to pit late in the race, costing precious track position. On the ensuing restart, the Las Vegas native made contact with Paul Menard and was ultimately forced to settle for a 22nd-place finish. Although it was a hugely disappointing end to the weekend, Busch and Rogers left with the feeling they were capable of winning at Martinsville. They backed it up with a solid fourth-place run that October.
In his next trip to the tricky Virginia short track in April of 2011, Busch led a race-high 151 laps before scoring his career-best Martinsville finish of third. Indeed, Busch felt like the M&M’s team kept getting closer to that elusive win at Martinsville with each return. And it looked like last October would finally be the breakthrough run as Busch led a race-high 126 laps, but a late-race multi-car accident relegated him to a 27th-place finish. An early race accident this past April derailed another Martinsville bid for Busch as he placed 36th.
Of the 23 venues that will host Sprint Cup events in 2012, Busch has won at least once at 20 of those venues in one of NASCAR’s top three divisions – Sprint Cup, Nationwide, and Camping World Truck. Martinsville is one of only three current Sprint Cup tracks – Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, and Indianapolis Motor Speedway being the others – where Busch has not scored a victory in any of NASCAR’s top three series. He does have back-to-back runner-up finishes at Martinsville in his last two Truck Series outings in October 2010 and April 2011.
As the Sprint Cup Series returns to Martinsville for another Halloween weekend celebration, will it mean a trick, or a treat, for Busch this Sunday? Despite the lack of a grandfather clock – the famed first-place prize at Martinsville – in his trophy case, Busch has reason to believe it might finally be time for those pesky tricks to turn to treats.
Joey Logano Quotes
“After a frustrating weekend in Kansas, I’m pretty excited to get back to a short track and do some real beating and banging. The thing most people don’t remember though is that even though you are at Martinsville and you are on a track that doesn’t require downforce like the intermediate tracks and such, you still need to have a really good handling car to get through the corners at Martinsville and to be competitive. You need to be able to roll the corners and get back on the gas. Getting off the corners is key at Martinsville with the long straightaways. If you can’t get off the corners, you are going to let someone get under you and when they get under you, likely you are going to get freight-trained by a bunch of cars all lined up on the bottom. So you still have to work on having a really good handling car.”
“We struggled a bit at Martinsville in the spring, but it was Jason’s (Ratcliff, crew chief) first time there with a Cup car and only our sixth or seventh race working together. I think we will be much better this time around. We’ve been working really well together and we’ve got a lot more notes to go off of than we had way back early in the season. So I think we will be good. I love going there and beating and banging. Most of us grew up on the short tracks and racing door-to-door and slamming our way to the front. It makes for good racing most of the time. We will see how it is this weekend. I just need to finish one position better than I did a couple of years ago.”
No. 20 Home Depot/Red Beacon Toyota News & Notes:
- WELCOMING RED BEACON TO THE HOME DEPOT TOYOTA: This weekend, the familiar orange Home Depot colors will be replaced with a new red No. 20 on the track. Redbeacon will join The Home Depot as primary sponsors of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota and driver Joey Logano this weekend at Martinsville, as well as the remaining races at Texas and Homestead. Redbeacon, a fully owned subsidiary of The Home Depot, is a free online and mobile resource for consumers seeking reliable home-service professionals. By simply requesting a service such as a maid, plumber, electrician, painter and more at redbeacon.com or through Redbeacon’s iPhone and Android apps, consumers receive competitive price quotes from qualified local pros in their area. Redbeacon service providers compete for the business, which saves consumers both time and money. Customers complete an online or mobile form that includes what home service they need, key details about the size and scope of the job, and when and where they need the job done. Redbeacon’s home-service matching system taps into its network of qualified local pros and checks their availability. Customers choose from up to four competitive quotes for the project and book the chosen professional on redbeacon.com or through the mobile apps. To ensure that each customer is satisfied, Redbeacon backs every job up to $1,000 with its Home Service Guarantee.
- DISAPPOINTING FINISH AT KANSAS DESPITE STRONG OVERALL WEEKEND: When you look at Logano’s weekend at Kansas Speedway, things were going real well for the 22-year-old; at least until you look at the final results on Sunday. Throughout the long Kansas weekend, which included Sprint Cup Series testing on Wednesday and Thursday, as well as a regular race-weekend program Friday through Sunday, Logano and the No. 20 JGR team were consistently one of the fastest cars on the track. Logano was in the top-10 in all the testing sessions and practice sessions and then qualified eighth for Sunday’s race. In Saturday’s Nationwide Series race, Logano won the pole and finished third despite getting in a mid-race accident. However on Sunday, with much warmer temperatures than the teams had experienced all weekend long, Logano and the No. 20 team struggled with the handling on the car. They fought a tight condition all afternoon long, one they could not work out of the car, and finished 19th.
- LAST SINGLE-DUTY WEEKEND: This weekend, Logano will take full advantage of what will be his last “off weekend” of the season. Not that Logano isn’t racing at Martinsville; but that this will be the last weekend where Logano will be performing “single-duty” instead of “double-duty” at the race track. With the NASCAR Nationwide Series having their last “off weekend” of the year, Logano will get a chance to focus just on his Sprint Cup Series ride this weekend. In the last three races of the season after Martinsville, at Texas, Phoenix and Homestead, Logano will be running in both the Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series events.
- 2010 ALL OVER AGAIN AT MARTINSVILLE: To Joey Logano, 2010 was a banner year in his career at the half-mile, paperclip-shaped Martinsville Speedway. Logano came “oh-so-close” to a win at Martinsville in the spring race of that year, finishing second to his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin. Logano was running in the top-five late and took advantage of contact between two other cars to grab second. Unfortunately, laps ran out and Logano had to settle for the runner-up position. That same season, Logano finished sixth in the fall event at Martinsville, marking his two best career-finishes at the track. His career-best qualifying effort at Martinsville is fourth, which he did in the spring race last season.
- RACE INFO: The Tums Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway (Martinsville, VA; .5-mile oval) is set for Sunday, October 28 at 1 pm ET. The race will be broadcast on ESPN (TV) and MRN (radio).