A statistical look ahead to the opening race of the Eliminator Round RELATED: Follow your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge for chance at $100,000 prize DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Below is a look at the eight Eliminators – and beyond – at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Virginia going into the Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500 on October 26. MARTINSVILLE-SPECIFIC STATISTICS 1 - Joey Logano (No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 106.6 2014 Rundown · Five wins, 15 top fives, 20 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 11.5 · Led 20 races for 916 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · Two top fives, three top 10s · Average finish of 14.8 in 11 races · Average Running Position of 16.0, 13th-best · Driver Rating of 82.3, 14th-best 2 - Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Outback Steakhouse Chevrolet) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 109.7 2014 Rundown · Three wins, 11 top fives, 17 top 10s; eight poles · Average finish of 13.4 · Led 24 races for 1,817 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · One win, three top fives, 12 top 10s · Average finish of 15.8 in 26 races · Average Running Position of 13.7, eighth-best · Driver Rating of 93.2, eighth-best · 956 Green Flag Passes, eighth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 91.163 mph, eighth-fastest · 6,348 Laps in the Top 15 (66.6%), sixth-most · 578 Quality Passes, sixth-most 3 - Ryan Newman (No. 31 Quicken Loans Chevrolet) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 85.1 2014 Rundown · Three top fives, 14 top 10s · Average finish of 13.3 · Led 7 races for 41 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · One win, seven top fives, 11 top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 15.5 in 25 races · Average Running Position of 15.1, 10th-best · Driver Rating of 86.9, 10th-best · 1,008 Green Flag Passes, fifth-most · 5,419 Laps in the Top 15 (56.8%), ninth-most · 528 Quality Passes, ninth-most 4 - Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 90.0 2014 Rundown · One win, six top fives, 14 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 15.1 · Led 14 races for 218 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · Four wins, nine top fives, 13 top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 8.8 in 17 races · Average Running Position of 9.0, third-best · Driver Rating of 109.6, third-best · 580 Fastest Laps Run, third-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 91.467 mph, third-fastest · 7,007 Laps in the Top 15 (82.1%), fourth-most · 609 Quality Passes, fifth-most 5 - Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Dollar General Toyota) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 91.6 2014 Rundown · 12 top fives, 19 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 13.6 · Led 18 races for 468 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · Four top fives, 10 top 10s · Average finish of 15.0 in 29 races · Average Running Position of 16.0, 12th-best · Driver Rating of 84.2, 12th-best · 173 Fastest Laps Run, 12th-most · 1,023 Green Flag Passes, fourth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 91.042 mph, 11th-fastest 6 - Carl Edwards (No. 99 Ford Ecoboost Fusion Ford) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 81.7 2014 Rundown · Two wins, seven top fives, 13 top 10s · Average finish of 14.5 · Led 11 races for 135 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · One top five, five top 10s · Average finish of 15.7 in 20 races · Average Running Position of 15.9, 11th-best · Driver Rating of 81.4, 15th-best · 1,036 Green Flag Passes, third-most · 5,181 Laps in the Top 15 (54.3%), 11th-most · 555 Quality Passes, eighth-most 7 - Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 108.4 2014 Rundown · Four wins, 12 top fives, 20 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 10.3 · Led 23 races for 743 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · Eight wins, 27 top fives, 34 top 10s; seven poles · Average finish of 7.0 in 43 races · Average Running Position of 6.7, second-best · Driver Rating of 119.0, second-best · Series-high 1,034 Fastest Laps Run · 933 Green Flag Passes, 11th-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 91.684 mph, second-fastest · 8,375 Laps in the Top 15 (87.8%), second-most · Series-high 691 Quality Passes 8 - Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 104.3 2014 Rundown · Six wins, 14 top fives, 17 top 10s; five poles · Average finish of 12.9 · Led 26 races for 1,518 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · One top five, five top 10s · Average finish of 13.4 in nine races · Average Running Position of 16.2, 14th-best · Driver Rating of 84.5, 11th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 91.102 mph, 10th-fastest 9 - Kyle Busch (No. 18 M&M's Halloween Toyota) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 90.0 2014 Rundown · One win, eight top fives, 14 top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 17.0 · Led 15 races for 453 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · Eight top fives, nine top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 15.9 in 19 races · Average Running Position of 13.3, seventh-best · Driver Rating of 96.1, sixth-best · 409 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most · 952 Green Flag Passes, ninth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 91.342 mph, fifth-fastest · 6,587 Laps in the Top 15 (69.1%), fifth-most · 616 Quality Passes, fourth-most 10 - Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 99.2 2014 Rundown · Three wins, 10 top fives, 18 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 14.7 · Led 16 races for 1,119 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · Eight wins, 18 top fives, 22 top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 5.2 in 25 races · Series-best Average Running Position of 5.6 · Series-best Driver Rating of 124.8 · 1,010 Fastest Laps Run, second-most · Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 91.737 mph · Series-high 8,833 Laps in the Top 15 (92.6%) · 680 Quality Passes, second-most 11 - Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 89.1 2014 Rundown · One win, three top fives, 11 top 10s · Average finish of 16.3 · Led 12 races for 218 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · Three top fives, four top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 20.2 in 21 races · Average Running Position of 20.4, 20th-best · Driver Rating of 77.7, 19th-best · 255 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-most 12 - AJ Allmendinger (No. 47 Clorox Chevrolet) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 70.2 2014 Rundown · One win, two top fives, four top 10s · Average finish of 20.2 · Led 5 races for 68 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · One top five, two top 10s · Average finish of 20.6 in 12 races · Average Running Position of 21.3, 23rd-best · Driver Rating of 70.8, 22nd-best 13 - Dale Earnhardt Jr . (No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 96.6 2014 Rundown · Three wins, 11 top fives, 17 top 10s · Average finish of 12.8 · Led 15 races for 300 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · 11 top fives, 16 top 10s · Average finish of 12.8 in 29 races · Average Running Position of 10.8, fourth-best · Driver Rating of 99.9, fourth-best · 471 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most · Series-high 1,111 Green Flag Passes · Average Green Flag Speed of 91.374 mph, fourth-fastest · 7,393 Laps in the Top 15 (77.5%), third-most · 668 Quality Passes, third-most 14 - Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M Ford) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 78.6 2014 Rundown · Three top fives, 10 top 10s · Average finish of 16.1 · Led 7 races for 110 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · Five top 10s · Average finish of 20.1 in 23 races · Average Running Position of 20.6, 21st-best · Driver Rating of 70.5, 23rd-best · 1,068 Green Flag Passes, second-most 15 - Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 86.5 2014 Rundown · One win, six top fives, nine top 10s · Average finish of 19.4 · Led 12 races for 183 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · Two wins, three top fives, five top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 20.8 in 28 races · Average Running Position of 18.2, 18th-best · Driver Rating of 79.0, 18th-best · 987 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most 16 - Aric Almirola (No. 43 Smithfield Ford) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 72.4 2014 Rundown · One win, two top fives, seven top 10s · Average finish of 21.6 · Led 5 races for 23 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · One top five, three top 10s · Average finish of 24.0 in 11 races · Average Running Position of 23.9, 30th-best · Driver Rating of 64.8, 27th-best The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2014 Eliminator Eight at Martinsville Speedway Driver Races Poles Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs Average Finish Driver Rating 1 Joey Logano 11 0 0 2 3 0 14.8 82.3 2 Kevin Harvick 26 0 1 3 12 1 15.8 93.2 3 Ryan Newman 25 3 1 7 11 2 15.5 86.9 4 Denny Hamlin 17 3 4 9 13 1 8.8 109.6 5 Matt Kenseth 29 0 0 4 10 2 15.0 84.2 6 Carl Edwards 20 0 0 1 5 0 15.7 81.4 7 Jeff Gordon 43 7 8 27 34 0 7.0 119.0 8 Brad Keselowski 9 0 0 1 5 0 13.4 84.5 * – Based on last 19 races at Martinsville Speedway (2005 – 2014). Martinsville Speedway: History · Opened in September 1947 by H. Clay Earles , Martinsville, originally a dirt track, is one of the oldest continuously-operating race tracks in the United States. · The first NASCAR-sanctioned race at Martinsville was on July 4, 1948. · The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was Sept. 25, 1949. · The track was paved in 1955. · The first 500-lap event at Martinsville was in 1956. · Concrete corners were added atop asphalt in 1976. Notebook · There have been 131 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Martinsville Speedway , one in the inaugural year and two races per year since 1950. · 599 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville; 376 in more than one. · NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty has the all-time most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Martinsville with 67 starts; Jeff Gordon has the most among active drivers with 43. · Curtis Turner won the inaugural Coors Light pole at Martinsville Speedway in 1949. · 58 drivers have Coors Light poles at Martinsville, led by NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip with eight; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with seven. · 12 drivers have won two or more consecutive Coors Light poles at Martinsville Speedway . Four of the 12 have won three consecutive poles at Martinsville: Glen Wood (Fall of 1959 and 1960 sweep); Darrell Waltrip (1979 sweep and spring 1980); Mark Martin (fall of 1990 and 1991 sweep); Jeff Gordon (2003 sweep and spring 2004). · Youngest Martinsville pole winner: Ricky Rudd (4/26/1981 – 24 years, 7 months, 14 days). · Oldest Martinsville pole winner: Morgan Shepherd (4/26/1987 – 45 years, 6 months, 14 days). · 47 different drivers have won at Martinsville Speedway , led by Richard Petty with 15; Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon lead the series among active drivers with eight wins each. · 24 drivers have multiple wins at Martinsville Speedway only five active drivers have multiple wins: Jimmie Johnson (eight), Jeff Gordon (eight), Denny Hamlin (four), Tony Stewart (three) and Kurt Busch (two). · Hendrick Motorsports leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in wins at Martinsville Speedway with 21. · 21 of 131 races (16.0%) at Martinsville Speedway have been won from the Coors Light pole; seven of those 21 wins came from active drivers: Tony Stewart (2000), Jeff Gordon (2003 twice), Jimmie Johnson (2008, 2012, spring 2013) and Denny Hamlin (2010). · The Coors Light pole is the most proficient starting spot in the field at Martinsville producing more wins (21) than any other starting position. · 36 of the 131 (27.4 %) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Martinsville Speedway have been won from the front row: 21 from the pole and 15 from second-place. · 95 of the 131 (72.5%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Martinsville Speedway have been won from a top-10 starting position. · Six of the 131 (4.5%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Martinsville Speedway have been won from a starting position outside the top 20. · The deepest in the field that a race winner has started was 36th, by Kurt Busch in the fall of 2002. · Youngest Martinsville winner: Richard Petty (04/10/1960 – 22 years, 9 months, 8 days). · Oldest Martinsville winner: Harry Gant (09/22/1991 – 51 years, 8 months, 12 days). · NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt leads the series in runner-up finishes at Martinsville Speedway with seven; Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson lead all active drivers with four each. · Richard Petty leads the series in top-five finishes at Martinsville Speedway with 30; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 27, followed by Jimmie Johnson with 18. · Richard Petty leads the series in top-10 finishes at Martinsville Speedway with 37; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 34, followed by Jimmie Johnson with 22. · Jeff Gordon leads active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average starting position at Martinsville Speedway with a 7.186. Ryan Newman (9.680) and Denny Hamlin (9.765) are the only two other active drivers with an average starting position at Martinsville inside the top-10. · Three active drivers have a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series average finish in the top-10 at Martinsville: Jimmie Johnson (5. 200 ), Jeff Gordon (6.953) and Denny Hamlin (8.765). · There have been five NSCS green-white-checkered finishes at Martinsville Speedway : fall 2007 (500/506), fall 2008 (500/504), fall 2009 (500/501), spring 2010 (500/508), and spring 2012 (500/515). · Qualifying has been cancelled due to weather conditions eight times in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Martinsville Speedway ; the most recent was the fall race of 2011. · Jeff Gordon has participated in the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Martinsville Speedway without a DNF (43). · Tony Stewart (4/18/1999) and Scott Riggs (4/10/2005) won their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light poles at Martinsville Speedway . · Mike Bliss (09/27/1998), Travis Kvapil (10/24/2004), Michael McDowell (3/30/2008) and Scott Speed (10/19/2008) made their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career starts at Martinsville Speedway . · 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers have posted consecutive wins at Martinsville Speedway . Fred Lorenzen won four NSCS races straight (the most) from the fall of 1963 through the spring of 1965. · All eight active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers who have won at Martinsville Speedway participated in at least two or more races before visiting Victory Lane. Tony Stewart won at Martinsville with the fewest previous appearances (three). · Ryan Newman competed at Martinsville Speedway 20 times before winning in the spring of 2012; the longest span of any the eight active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winners. · Four drivers have made eight or more attempts before their first win at Martinsville Speedway : Kevin Harvick (19) and Ryan Newman (20). · Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Martinsville Speedway is the 4/1/2007 race won by Jimmie Johnson with a MOV of 0.065 second. · Danica Patrick is the only female driver to compete at Martinsville Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Driver Starting Position Finishing Position Date Danica Patrick 10 32 3/30/2014 Danica Patrick 41 17 10/27/2013 Danica Patrick 32 12 4/7/2013 · Seven car numbers have produced five or more Martinsville Speedway NSCS wins: Car Number – Drivers – (Years) o No. 43 – Richard Petty (1960, ’62, ’63, ’67 sweep, ’68, ’69 sweep, ’70, ’71, ’72 sweep, ’73, ’75 and ’79); John Andretti (1999) o No. 11 – Cale Yarborough (1974, ’76, ’77 sweep, ‘78); Darrell Waltrip (1981, ’82, ’83, ’84); Geoff Bodine (1990 sweep); Denny Hamlin (2008, ’09, ’10 sweep) o No . 28 – Fred Lorenzen (1961, ’63, ’64 sweep, ‘65 and ‘66); Buddy Baker (1979); Ernie Irvan (1993). o No . 2 – Dale Earnhardt (1980); Rusty Wallace (1993, ‘94 sweep, ’95, ’96 and ‘04) o No . 48 – Jimmie Johnson (2004, ’06, ’07 sweep, ’08, ’09, ’12, ‘13) o No . 24 – Jeff Gordon (1996, ’97, ’99, ’03 sweep and ’05 sweep, fall 2013) o No . 3 – Ricky Rudd (1983); Dale Earnhardt (1985, ’87, ’88, ’91, ’95) NASCAR in Virginia · There have been 285 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races among nine tracks in Virginia. Track Name City NSCS Martinsville Speedway Martinsville 131 Richmond International Raceway Richmond 117 South Boston Speedway South Boston 10 Langley Field Speedway Hampton 9 Old Dominion Speedway Manassas 7 Southside Speedway Richmond 4 Starkey Speedway Roanoke 4 Norfolk Speedway Norfolk 2 Princess Anne Speedway Norfolk 1 · 172 drivers in NASCAR national series history have their home state recorded as Virginia. · 19 drivers from Virginia have won at least one race in NASCAR’s three national series. 11 of the 19 Virginia native NASCAR winners have won in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Driver NSCS NNS NCWTS Joe Weatherly 25 0 0 Denny Hamlin 24 11 2 Ricky Rudd 23 1 0 Jeff Burton 21 27 0 Curtis Turner 17 0 0 Ward Burton 5 4 0 Glen Wood 4 0 0 Elliott Sadler 3 10 1 Emanuel Zervakis 2 0 0 Lennie Pond 1 0 0 Wendell Scott 1 0 0 Tommy Ellis 0 22 0 Jimmy Hensley 0 9 2 Rick Mast 0 9 0 Hermie Sadler 0 2 0 Elton Sawyer 0 2 0 Stacy Compton 0 0 2 Jon Wood 0 0 2 Jeb Burton 0 0 1 MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
Elliott Sadler and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. react after a thrilling conclusion in Phoenix.
Wallace Jr. tries to repeat on weekend honoring Wendell Scott TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Darrell Wallace Jr. bounds into the media center, shaking hands and saying hellos as though he wanted to be there. He recently turned 21, and is excited to finally have the chance to win a Keystone Light Pole Award. A year ago, when he won his first NASCAR national series race at Martinsville Speedway in the Camping World Truck Series , he couldn’t enjoy a champagne celebration in Victory Lane. The Kyle Busch Motorsports driver has seen a lot in that year. In the 21 races following his first win, he's scored two more trips to Victory Lane and seven top-five finishes. He still taunts good friend Ryan Blaney on Twitter, showing that he really is just 21, but has developed into a more level-headed driver in the year after his first win. "The maturity level has gone up, I'd say, inside the race car," Wallace said of the past year. "... I think just learning everything -- learning the tracks, understanding how things work, letting little stuff go, and focusing on the end of the race, instead of getting flustered at the beginning when I lose six or seven spots, and get upset and end up wrecking." That scenario plagued Wallace twice last year, once at Charlotte Motor Speedway and again at Kentucky Speedway. A poor restart at Charlotte and slow pit stop at Kentucky both lost positions for the then 20-year-old rookie, and both situations ended in a wreck for the No. 54 team. He's kept himself out of trouble more often this year, resulting in a much-improved season. " ... Now we just go out and have (a) fun, smooth race -- still not happy if we don't win, but it's still a good points day to finish in sixth vs. 26th, so i think that has changed a lot," Wallace said. "I've relaxed and learn to take in more and listen more and go out there and utilize that -- what I've learned, -- it's definitely shown." Also impressed with his season is boss and Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch , who knows how emotion can impact the performance of his full-time driver. "Our trucks have been really good this year; it has been great to see other talent run well in our stuff with Bubba -- and Erik Jones as well," Busch said after his win at Chicagoland Speedway , finishing five spots ahead of Wallace. "I look forward to watching the rest of the year and see if Bubba can't make a challenge for the championship ... he needs to keep his head up and just keep fighting." Wallace has also been a big part of NASCAR history. Beyond earning a personal milestone at Martinsville Speedway with his first Trucks win, Wallace also became the first African-American driver to win a national series race since Wendell Scott in 1963, as well as the first to win in the Camping World Truck Series. The Scott family was on hand at Martinsville to witness and celebrate the history of the occasion. "When the checkered flag dropped, I heard a big boom from heaven, and my daddy said 'Hell, yeah!'" Franklin Scott, son of the soon-to-be Hall of Famer, said after the race. Wallace, on the other hand, seemed a bit overwhelmed by the magnitude of the occasion. "It's been great seeing all the outlets that I'm on, doing all this stuff, it's for the better, and it's trying to change the sport, and I'm all-in for that," he said. "Just carrying the torch that Wendell Scott laid down for us, and taking it farther. That's the biggest thing I'm trying to do." When he returns to the track this weekend, known as Scott's home track, Wallace will drive with Scott's number and paint scheme adorning his KBM truck as he continue to battle toward the Camping World Truck Series title, which would put the young driver in NASCAR history books once again. "The colors look good, the blue-and-white Toyota Tundra No. 34 is going to be different for sure, but I'm excited to carry on the Wendell Scott banner and represent their family and his legacy for that weekend," Wallace said. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Q&A with brother of NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Kasey Kahne RELATED: Subscribe to NASCAR Illustrated Hometown: "Enumclaw, Washington, is a great place to live. You are so close to the mountains and the ocean, it makes for lots of very fun activities such as fishing, great seafood, skiing, sledding. It's just a small town at the edge of the foothills. It was really nice to grow up in a small city with not much crime and no gangs." Being a sprint car crew chief: "It's an awesome job. There are lots of things to do and think about. It's a wild life out here, but the feeling I get when we win makes it all worth it. It's very hard to have a good race car every night because all the tracks are different, but that is the challenge and it's what makes it so exciting. One minute I feel happy and proud and the next minute I am depressed and mad. Just lots of emotions in this sport -- good and bad." Life on the road: "It's good when you are racing good, and it's bad when you're not. It's always hard to be away from my wife and my family. But it's part of the job. I love this job and my family understands it." Getting married: "It was the best thing that happened to me. My wife, Michelle, is the greatest person in the world and makes me a better person every day. Can't believe she chose me. Now she is pregnant with our first child, a girl. We can't wait until she is born. We are so excited and can't wait to be great parents." Favorite midnight snack: "I hate eating late at night but if I had to choose, I would say peanuts or beef jerky helps me drive late at night." Favorite app: " 'Race Monitor.' It's how we see our lap times and who finished where in our races." Music that moves me: "I like alternative, rock and some hip-hop. I don't like much country. It just makes me tired and doesn't get me excited. I like music that gets me going in the morning and all day." Favorite websites: "Mostly racing sites and ESPN. I love most sports and like to see what is going on in the sports world. My favorite sports are racing, football, fishing and basketball -- in that order." Travel: "I really like going on vacations with my wife, family and friends. I like to go to the mountains and go skiing, snowmobiling and sledding. I also like warm weather and the beach, hanging by the pool and fishing." Habit I'd like to kick: "I chew my fingernails all the time. It's worse when I'm nervous but it's all the time." Biggest influence in my life: "My parents for many reasons, but most of all how they raised us right and made us into great people. They always tried to do family things like vacations, or races, or even just dinner at home. We always ate dinner together. I can only hope Michelle and I raise our kids as well as our parents raised us." SUBSCRIBE NOW!
Driver of No. 11 Toyota has strong history at final four tracks on the schedule RELATED: Follow your picks in the Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Denny Hamlin has had an up and down year, but that hasn't stopped the Joe Gibbs Racing driver from emerging as a dark horse to win this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship. From an eye ailment that kept him out of a race at Auto Club Speedway , to his win at Talladega Superspeedway in the spring, to seeing his crew chief Darian Grubb be suspended for the six races before the start of the Chase to battling his way through the Challenger and Contender Rounds, it has been a roller coaster season. And with his advancement into the Eliminator Round of eight drivers, things are setting up nicely for "The Deliverminator" to get to the Championship Round at Homestead-Miami Speedway with a shot at the title. "Really, this year, our expectations have been so low from everyone around that we've flown so much under the radar that we don't have any pressure from here on out," Hamlin said during Eliminator Round Media Day at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. "I mean, no one thought we'd be here. Now, I love our chances at having a shot for a championship at Homestead. "This format is just tailor made for an average team that's just been squeaking by, squeaking by, to get hot at the right time and next thing you know, steal a championship." Martinsville Speedway , Texas Motor Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway are three of Hamlin's better tracks in the Sprint Cup Series. The 33-year-old has four wins at Martinsville (with an average finish of 8.8, his second-best among active tracks), two wins at Texas (with an average finish of 10.8, his fifth-best among active tracks) and one win at Phoenix (with an average finish of 11.3, his seventh-best among active tracks). "Looking at these three racetracks, I can win any of them, easily." Hamlin sees this round -- specifically Sunday's race at Martinsville Speedway (1:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) -- as a great chance for his team to take advantage of speed not being as big of an issue. "It's a huge opportunity for us," Hamlin said. "As average as our team, in general, has been this year, we go into a short track where horsepower doesn't matter. Aerodynamics doesn't matter. It's about the driver and mechanical setup. And I feel like that's our strong suit with our team." While speed has been an issue at times for the Gibbs group and the Toyota fleet in general, Hamlin sees no reason that the team can't be right there at the end. "I believe we've got all the tools necessary. We've got a pit crew that is very, very fast even though we've got a setback there with losing our jackman (Nate Bolling). There's no reason we can't be as competitive as any one of these seven guys that we're going to be racing against these last four races." Despite his good record at Martinsville, Hamlin finished 19th there in the spring after qualifying second. He warned that those results came with little practice time at the track as the final two practices were washed out by rain. Since then, Hamlin disclosed that his team worked on their Martinsville setup at a similarly-configured track in Sandusky, Ohio. "Normally I wouldn't give that information away, but there's no more testing," Hamlin joked referring to a change announced as part of the 2015 rules package for the Sprint Cup Series that bans private testing by teams. And should he reach Homestead, Hamlin has a strong record there with two wins and an average finish of 11.2, his sixth-best among active tracks. The driver of the No. 11 Toyota won there in last year's season finale. "Truth be told, if you ask me 'you have one race to race heads up for a championship, pick either Martinsville or Homestead?' I'd almost pick Homestead simply because we've just had a lot of success there over these last few years and its been a great track for us. No one saw us winning last year. We were running like 15th every week and all of sudden, we win Homestead." Hamlin came to Homestead once before with a shot at the championship. In 2010, Hamlin led Jimmie Johnson by 15 points entering the season's final race. Hamlin finished 14th that day, while Johnson finished second, securing his fifth straight title by 39 points. Since then Hamlin has learned plenty, but mostly he just wants that chance to race for a championship in the season finale again and the new format makes that a bit easier to reach. "What we learned in 2010 is to have fun," Hamlin said. "And this year is going to be fun no matter what, because the expectations have been so low. I always said that if you just give me that Homestead 2010 chance back, then I promise I'd win it. It's hard to do that knowing you are going to have to race three guys heads-up and its going to be the best of the four (that wins the title), but I just want that chance again to be heads-up with those guys at Homestead." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
Team Penske uses Logano's locked-in status to its advantage RELATED: Follow your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge for chance at $100,000 prize TALLADEGA, Ala. -- As cars whipped around Talladega Superspeedway in the second attempt at a green-white-checkered finish, Brad Keselowski had teammate Joey Logano just behind him. Logano threw a block to stave off a charging Kevin Harvick , keeping Keselowski out front in his battle with Ryan Newman . After his win at Kansas Speedway , Logano was a lock to advance into the Eliminator Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. His teammate, however, needed a win to continue on after two poor performances at Kansas and Charlotte. Team Penske owner Roger Penske made Logano's obligations clear. "It's pretty simple," Penske said. "With the structure of the Chase, he was already committed into the next round, so we sat down with he and Brad and (Ryan) Blaney and said, 'Whatever you can do today to help the 2 car get in the winner's circle, that's what you have to do.' And I think he obeyed orders pretty well." Not every team had that luxury. Hendrick Motorsports had all four drivers winless and battling to make the next round: Jeff Gordon , Kasey Kahne , Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Only Gordon advanced to the next round. There was little teamwork between the Hendrick drivers; no pushes to the front or blocks to keep a teammate into the lead. Earnhardt and Johnson both needed a win to move on, and often found themselves battling each other for the lead. "(The Penske) situation for teammates worked out pretty nice, because Joey was locked in," Johnson said. "My situation with the 88, who I ran around a lot -- I had to win. I had to beat him in order to transfer, so it was more of a competition than thinking, 'Hey, there's my buddy, there's my teammate. Let's race.' " The Joe Gibbs Racing group was in a similar position. None of the team's cars had clinched advancement into the next round. Kyle Busch appeared to have the biggest buffer, coming into Talladega second in the points standings, six points away from Logano. Denny Hamlin was just above the cutoff in seventh, while Matt Kenseth was in ninth place, the first elimination position. Each driver was on a different strategy. Hamlin and Kenseth advanced to the Eliminator Round, while a wreck runied Busch's day and saw him finish on the wrong side of the Chase cut line. "(I) hate lagging in the back, but couldn't afford to have what happened to the 18 happen to us and take our chances out," Hamlin said of his 18th-place finish. "Still proud of our effort and happy that we made it." Kevin Harvick was able to take chances for Stewart-Haas Racing , but is the only remaining driver on the four-car team's roster still in competition for a title this year. Part of his effort went toward helping Kurt Busch , who was eliminated after the first round of the Chase, to a seventh-place finish. "I felt like on the last restart that Bowyer was going to be our catalyst, but it ended up he didn’t stay attached to our rear bumper, so I couldn't get to Newman in time and that outside groove was going," Busch said. "So, I had to get to the middle to salvage what I could, and that was seventh. I just have to thank Kevin Harvick for being a great teammate all day today." Getting that push when it mattered prove to be a win-or-go-home moment. Johnson said he knew he was "in trouble" when, after a late restart, he moved to a new line and had nobody behind him. Keselowski, on the other hand, had that push. Their points reset to level the playing field at 4,000 points coming into the Eliminator Round, so neither Penske driver will have the benefit of a locked-in teammate ready to throw a block at Martinsville Speedway . For Hendrick Motorsports and Stewart-Haas Racing, both with only one car remaining in title contention, Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick , teammates will be at the ready. "Moving forward, Jeff and Kasey and Junior have always been amazing team players for me on my championship runs," Johnson said. "And I'll do my best to help them." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
With two laps remaining in the Great Clips 200 , points co-leader Elliott Sadler, Cole Whitt and Brendan Gaughan collide.
See which drivers will compete as the series returns to Martinsville RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today Entry # Driver Owner Crew chief Manufacturer Sponsor 1 00 Cole Custer Gene Haas Joe Shear 14 Chevrolet Haas Automation 2 0 Matt Tifft Kenneth Grimes Michael Stewart 13 Chevrolet TBA 3 02 Tyler Young Randy Young Bryan Berry 14 Chevrolet Randco/Young's Building Systems 4 05 John Wes Townley Tony Townley Mike Beam 14 Toyota Zaxby's 5 6 Norm Benning Norm Benning Kevin Dargie 14 Chevrolet TBA 6 07 B J McLeod Ken Smith Doug Weddle 13 Chevrolet TBA 7 08 Camden Murphy Bobby Dotter Jason Miller 13 Chevrolet TBA 8 8 John Hunter Nemechek Sidney Mauldin Jerry Babb 14 Toyota TBD 9 9 Brennan Newberry Joe Denette Ryan McKinney 14 Chevrolet Qore-24 10 10 Jennifer Jo Cobb Jennifer Jo Cobb Steve Kuykendall 12 RAM Driven2Honor.org 11 13 Jeb Burton Duke Thorson Jeriod Prince 14 Toyota Estes-Carolina Nut Company 12 115 Mason Mingus Billy Boat Ben Leslie 14 Chevrolet 811 Call Before You Dig 13 17 Timothy Peters Tom Deloach Marcus Richmond II 14 Toyota Red Horse Racing 14 19 Tyler Reddick Brad Keselowski Doug Randolph 14 Ford Broken Bow Records 15 20 Gray Gaulding Bob Newberry Chris Rice 14 Chevrolet Gemini Southern / Krispy Kreme 16 21 Joey Coulter Maurice Gallagher Jr Jeff Stankiewicz 14 Chevrolet Allegiant Travel 17 23 Max Gresham Maurice Gallagher Jr Ryan London 14 Chevrolet AmWins Group, Inc. 18 29 Ryan Blaney Brad Keselowski Chad Kendrick 14 Ford Cooper Standard 19 31 Ben Kennedy Steve Turner Doug George 14 Chevrolet Heater.com 20 32 Alex Guenette Harry Scott Jr Mike Hillman Jr 14 Chevrolet MOTORS ILLIMITEES 21 133 Brandon Jones Maurice Gallagher Jr Shane Huffman 14 Chevrolet TBA 22 35 TBA Kevin Cywinski Mark Rette 14 Toyota TBA 23 50 T J Bell Mark Beaver Tim Sliva 14 Chevrolet TBA 24 51 Erik Jones Kyle Busch Eric Phillips 14 Toyota ToyotaCare 25 54 Darrell Wallace Jr Kyle Busch Jerry Baxter 14 Toyota 2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee Wendell Scott 26 63 Justin Jennings Michael Mittler Michael Mittler 14 Chevrolet Mittler Bros Machine & Tool/LG Seeds/Ski Soda 27 74 Wendell Chavous Mike Harmon TBA 13 Chevrolet Vydox 28 175 Caleb Holman Charles Henderson Darrell Holman 14 Chevrolet Food Country USA-Gain Flings-Lopez Wealth Mgmt. 29 77 German Quiroga Tom Deloach Butch Hylton 14 Toyota OtterBox 30 180 Jody Knowles Tracy Wallace Wayne Hansard 09 Ford Clayton Signs, Inc. 31 182 Cody Erickson John Corr Michael Cheek 13 Ford Performance Auto 32 186 Brandon Brown Jerry Brown Adam Brenner 13 Chevrolet Willmar Concrete Pumping 33 187 Charles Buchanan Jr Charles Buchanan Jr Craig Wood 13 Ford Spring Drug 34 88 Matt Crafton Rhonda Thorson Carl Joiner 14 Toyota Ideal Door/Menards 35 92 Austin Hill Ricky Benton Michael Hester 14 Ford BTS Tire/ Goodyear Fleet HQ/ Wynns 36 98 Johnny Sauter Mike Curb Jeff Hensley 14 Toyota Smokey Mountain/Curb Records 37 99 Bryan Silas Chris Baluch Cal Boprey 14 Chevrolet TBA MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
See the full entry list for the 33rd race of the Sprint Cup Series season RELATED: Follow your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge for chance at $100,000 prize Entry # Driver Owner Crew chief Manufacturer Sponsor 1 1 Jamie McMurray Felix Sabates Keith Rodden 14 Chevrolet McDonald's 2 2 Brad Keselowski Roger Penske Paul Wolfe 14 Ford Alliance Truck Parts 3 3 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Gil Martin 14 Chevrolet Dow 4 4 Kevin Harvick Tony Stewart Rodney Childers 14 Chevrolet Outback Steakhouse 5 5 Kasey Kahne Linda Hendrick Kenny Francis 14 Chevrolet Great Clips 6 7 Michael Annett Tommy Baldwin Kevin Manion 14 Chevrolet Allstate Peterbuilt Group 7 9 Marcos Ambrose Richard Petty Drew Blickensderfer 14 Ford STANLEY 8 10 Danica Patrick Tony Stewart Tony Gibson 14 Chevrolet GoDaddy Breast Cancer Awareness 9 11 Denny Hamlin J D Gibbs Darian Grubb 14 Toyota FedEx Freight 10 13 Casey Mears Bob Germain Bootie Barker III 14 Chevrolet No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS 11 14 Tony Stewart Margaret Haas Chad Johnston 14 Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 12 15 Clint Bowyer Rob Kauffman Brian Pattie 14 Toyota AAA Insurance 13 16 Greg Biffle Jack Roush Matt Puccia 14 Ford 3M 14 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr John Henry Michael Kelley 14 Ford Roush Fenway Racing 'Pit for a Pair' Fusion 15 18 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Dave Rogers 14 Toyota M&M's Halloween 16 20 Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Jason Ratcliff 14 Toyota Dollar General 17 22 Joey Logano Walter Czarnecki Todd Gordon 14 Ford Shell Pennzoil 18 23 Alex Bowman Ron Devine Dave Winston 14 Toyota Dustless Blasting Toyota Camry 19 24 Jeff Gordon Rick Hendrick Alan Gustafson 14 Chevrolet Drive To End Hunger 20 26 Cole Whitt Anthony Marlowe Randy Cox 14 Toyota Bad Boy Mowers Toyota Camry 21 27 Paul Menard Richard Childress Justin Alexander 14 Chevrolet Richmond / Menards 22 31 Ryan Newman Richard Childress Luke Lambert 14 Chevrolet Quicken Loans 23 32 Kyle Fowler(i) Frank Stoddard Jr Clinton Cram 14 Ford corvetteparts.net 24 33 Travis Kvapil Joe Falk Mike Hillman Jr 14 Chevrolet Little Joe's Autos Chevrolet 25 34 David Ragan Bob Jenkins Derrick Finley 14 Ford WENDELL SCOTT HOF TRIBUTE 26 36 Reed Sorenson Allan Heinke Todd Parrott 14 Chevrolet Zing Zang Chevrolet 27 38 David Gilliland Brad Jenkins Jay Guy 14 Ford A&W ALL AMERICAN FOOD 28 40 Landon Cassill(i) Michael Hillman Mark Hillman 14 Chevrolet Newtown Building Supplies 29 41 Kurt Busch Gene Haas Daniel Knost 14 Chevrolet Haas Automation 30 42 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Chris Heroy 14 Chevrolet Target 31 43 Aric Almirola Richard Petty Trent Owens 14 Ford Smithfield 32 144 Timmy Hill John Cohen Peter Sospenzo 14 Chevrolet Phoenix Warehouse 33 47 A J Allmendinger Tad Geschickter Brian Burns 14 Chevrolet Clorox 34 48 Jimmie Johnson Jeff Gordon Chad Knaus 14 Chevrolet Lowe's 35 51 Justin Allgaier Harry Scott Jr Steve Addington 14 Chevrolet Auto-Owners Insurance 36 55 Brian Vickers Michael Waltrip Billy Scott 14 Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 37 66 Mike Wallace(i) Jay Robinson Scott Eggleston 14 Toyota Royal Teak Collection.com 38 78 Martin Truex Jr Barney Visser Todd Berrier 14 Chevrolet Furniture Row 39 83 TBA Ron Devine Joe Williams 14 Toyota Burger King Toyota Camry 40 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr Rick Hendrick Steve Letarte 14 Chevrolet National Guard 41 93 TBA Wayne Press Doug Richert 14 Toyota TBA 42 98 Josh Wise Mike Curb Gene Nead 14 Chevrolet Phil Parsons Racing 43 99 Carl Edwards Jack Roush James Fennig 14 Ford Ford Ecoboost Fusion MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
Chuck Bush heads down to Darlington Raceway to take you inside the NASCAR Nationwide Series garage prior to the VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 .