Matthew Dillner and Chuck Bush take some advice from Jimmie Johnson and check out Los Panchos Taco Shop in El Cajon as NASCAR Goes West continues. Visit CampingWorld.com to find everything you need for your RV!
Brian Vickers runs across the front of Jimmie Johnson's car, sending the No. 55 into the wall and Johnson to pit road with damage.
At age 19, Chase will attempt to qualify for first Sprint Cup race Vote: Who will win at Martinsville? " Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Think about this for a moment: Chase Elliott , son of the ever-popular Bill Elliott , will attempt to make his Sprint Cup Series debut at Martinsville Speedway , a track steeped in history and tradition, for Sunday's STP 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1). Not only does he need to qualify for the race, but Elliott also will need to do it without having the benefit of much time spent in a Sprint Cup Series seat. And if that's not enough, if he qualifies for the race -- which is expected to be attended by none other than Richard Petty -- Elliott will do so at a younger age than Jeff Gordon did in 1992. Throughout his short history as a national series driver, Elliott has shown an unflappable, even-keel approach en route to such heights as last season's XFINITY Series title. But if any weekend were to test his Zen-like calm, who could blame him if this were the one? "If I wasn't nervous come this weekend, then I'd think something was wrong with me," Elliott said. "I think that should be the case. With as much excitement as this weekend brings I think you're going to have some nerves to go along with it. I'm looking forward to experiencing both of those sensations." If his nerves indeed need some calming, then Elliott can go to bat knowing he will have Gordon on his side. Jeff just happens to be tied with HMS teammate Jimmie Johnson for the most Cup wins at the track with eight, so it's not like he's coming at Chase with a blank slate. "I think for me, Jeff will probably be the guy I lean on most this weekend," Elliott said. "One, our car is being prepared out of the 24 and 5 shop. Just to be familiar with that group of guys and how they do things, I think that only makes sense to kind of lean on those guys more than anybody else with the plans for next year. Last time I checked, Jeff had run a handful of races at Martinsville; I feel like he'll have some good information and a lot to be learned talking to him." Elliott said he hasn't driven a Cup car since January of 2014, and most of that experience was at Nashville Superspeedway, a 1.33-mile concrete track that was used for testing. Plus, in the time since Elliott drove a Cup car, a lot has changed thanks to the 2015 rules package. Add in the fact that Elliott will be working with crew chief Kenny Francis for the first time, and there are a lot of challenges he'll be facing beyond just the normal task of driving on a tough, tight 0.526-mile track. But besides having Gordon and the entire HMS team on his side, Elliott also has the benefit of it being a break in the XFINITY Series schedule. Therefore, he can concentrate on the very tall task at hand. But as one might expect, his own expectations for his first Cup race sound pretty reasonable. "Hopefully, for me, I just want to execute all weekend and put together a solid week," Elliott said. "I think for us, if we can run all the laps and stay on the lead lap and battle to run in the top 15, I feel like that's a great day to shoot for. I feel like that's possible and that would be a really good day." Of course, if he does something more than that, then it could add to the track's already thick history. It's a history that will be on the young driver's mind. "I think back of all the times I've gone to Martinsville to watch my dad race," Elliott said. "Even not that long ago. Weird to think I'm going to go run a Cup race and not be watching. ... Such a great opportunity and I want to make the most of it." Senior writer Holly Cain contributed to this report. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Wrapping up the week that was and look forward to the week ahead Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Hendrick Motorsports will have five teams vying for starting positions in Sunday's STP 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway , but HMS officials aren't skirting the rules. Since 2006, NASCAR has limited Sprint Cup organizations to no more than four full-time teams. However, officials allow a fifth entry for a maximum of seven starts "for the purpose of enabling a rookie driver … to become familiar with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition." In addition to full-time teams for drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Jeff Gordon , Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne , HMS will field a fifth entry for defending XFINITY Series champion Chase Elliott at Martinsville. It will be Elliott's first attempt in the Sprint Cup Series, one of five scheduled for the 19-year-old this season. Elliott will also be entered in Sprint Cup races at Richmond (April 25), Charlotte (May 24), Indianapolis (July 26) and Darlington (Sept. 6). The No. 25 Chevrolet will carry sponsorship from NAPA and will be led by crew chief Kenny Francis. Elliott is slated to replace Gordon in the team's No. 24 Chevrolet beginning in 2016. It will be the first time an organization has fielded five Sprint Cup teams in one race since 2009 provided Elliott qualifies for the 43-car field. HMS fielded a fifth team on a part-time basis that season for driver Brad Keselowski -- his final start with HMS came at Charlotte Motor Speedway in October. Roush Fenway Racing was allowed to field five full-time teams through the end of '09 due to sponsorship agreements that were in place when the cap was announced three years earlier. MORE INSPECTION TIME ADDED • NASCAR will continue to incorporate additional time into the pre-qualifying inspection process as the Sprint Cup Series returns from a three-week West Coast swing and heads to Martinsville. Schedule adjustments at Las Vegas, Phoenix and Auto Club Speedway resulted in an additional 15 minutes of off-track time at each venue to allow teams to prepare and present their cars for pre-qualifying inspection and for officials to complete the inspection process. The move came in the wake of inspection delays at the season's second event, the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway . Thirteen cars were unable to complete the pre-qualifying inspection process in time to post an official first-round qualifying lap at Atlanta. Friday's schedule at Martinsville indicates changes from '14 that will provide an additional 10 minutes of time between the end of opening practice and the start of qualifying. Compared to last year's Martinsville spring race schedule, opening practice is now five minutes shorter (12-1:25 p.m. ET) and qualifying will being later (4:45 p.m. instead of 4:40 p.m.). In addition, in a NASCAR bulletin distributed to teams, the first round of Sprint Cup Series qualifying will now be 20 minutes at short tracks and intermediate tracks. This takes affect at Martinsville this weekend. NO PRACTICE PENALTIES • No teams required more than three attempts to pass pre-qualifying inspection at Auto Club Speedway , meaning none will be docked 15 minutes at the beginning of practice Friday at Martinsville. NASCAR notified teams earlier this year that any vehicle that fails qualifying inspection more than twice will be subject to a 15-minute practice penalty that will be applied during the opening practice of the next scheduled event. TIRES IMPOUNDED • NASCAR impounded the tires from four teams following Sunday's Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway . Tires from the teams of Kevin Harvick and teammate Kurt Busch ( Stewart-Haas Racing ), as well as teammates Ryan Newman and Paul Menard ( Richard Childress Racing ) went back to the NASCAR R&D Center for evaluation. Harvick and Busch finished second and third, respectively, while Menard finished fourth and Newman fifth. It marked the second time this season that NASCAR had impounded tires following a Sprint Cup Series event. The sanctioning body took tires from the teams of race winner Harvick and eighth-place finisher Joey Logano after this month’s Phoenix race. No issues with the Phoenix tires were found, according to NASCAR officials. Sunday's race was the first for teams with the new left-side tire code at Auto Club. There was no change in the right-side tires. • According to Goodyear, Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck Series teams will run the same Goodyear tire codes this weekend at Martinsville used when the two series visited the half-mile track last October. This particular tire is not used for any other events by the two series. PIT ROAD PENALTIES • Officials in NASCAR's Pit Road Officiating (PRO) trailer called 12 of the 22 penalties issued during Sunday’s Auto Club 400 , the second fewest through this year’s first five races. Six of the 12 were for tire violations -- failure to control an outside tire. Only Phoenix saw fewer total violations (19) and those made by officials in the PRO trailer (nine). There have been 158 penalties thus far this season, including 60 that were called by the PRO group. Officials in the tower continue to call infractions for speeding when entering/exiting pit road, pitting before pit road is open and various safety-related violations. Officials in the PRO trailer use video to respond to potential infractions such as too many crewmen in contact with the pit service area, crewmen over the wall too soon and pit box tire violations. PENALTIES FOR FONTANA INFRACTIONS • On Wednesday, NASCAR issued penalities for infractions during race weekend at Auto Club Speedway . Click here for penalties on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series No. 33 team, and click here for penalties on the NASCAR XFINITY Series No. 8 team. POST-RACE INSPECTIONS • Because of the schedule that saw teams competing at Las Vegas, Phoenix and Auto Club Speedway in consecutive weeks, final post-race inspection for entries from both Phoenix and Auto Club will be conducted Wednesday at the NASCAR R&D Center in Concord, North Carolina. Both Stewart-Haas Racing entries of driver Kevin Harvick , which finished first and second at Phoenix and Auto Club, respectively, were sent back to the R&D Center as well as the cars of Auto Club winner Brad Keselowski ( Team Penske ) and Phoenix runner-up Jamie McMurray ( Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates). MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Multiple-time series champions battle flat tires, wrecked race cars Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Related: Full Kobalt 400 results LAS VEGAS -- Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon must be thrilled to get out of Sin City. Armed with two of the fastest cars on the track throughout the weekend, both multiple-time premier series champions couldn't shake off a spate of unfortunate events that seemed to magnify as race day deepened. Johnson had to pit from second place with a vibration, then blew a tire just when he had climbed his way back through the field. Then he blew another one for good measure. Gordon's misfortune actually began late Saturday with less than a minute remaining in final practice, when he rammed the No. 10 Chevrolet following a spin from Danica Patrick , and it caused enough to damage to his No. 24 Chevrolet that it necessitated a backup car. So the Coors Light Pole Award winner started from the rear, sprinted his way into the top 10, and then mussed up his car's nose by running into Jeb Burton … the direct result of Burton trying to get away from Johnson's wrecking No. 48. "I guess Jimmie blew a right front tire," said Gordon, who patted Burton's head on pit road after the race as the two had a brief talk. "I was right behind Jeb (Burton) getting ready to make a move on him. I wasn't sure if I was going to go inside or outside, but all of a sudden he started checking up and I thought he was doing it to let me go by him and I didn't realize until right at that moment when my spotter said something to me that Jimmie was having a problem. And I ran into the back of him. It ruined our day and certainly ruined the front end." The 43-year-old wound up 18th, as he nursed his battered, tape-covered Chevrolet around the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway oval over the final 80 laps. Johnson's bad vibes didn't start Saturday as Gordon's did, but they came over a brutal hour-long stretch Sunday. The No. 48 Chevrolet was out front for 45 laps and seemed to have a car with the ability to challenge eventual race winner Kevin Harvick , who led 142 of 267 laps. In fact, "Six-Time" was leading on Lap 91 when he slowed considerably after feeling a vibration. He came down pit road for tires and was scored 35th (and one lap down) when he returned to the track. Johnson worked his way back to being one spot behind Clint Bowyer , and then Brad Keselowski , for the beneficiary position. A tire blew on Lap 173, though, which eliminated any hope of Johnson getting back on the lead lap. Twelve laps later, another tire went down -- and his No. 48 Chevrolet again caromed into the wall as a result. "The first one, they said the bead blew on it," Johnson said. " That's kind of a freak deal. The second one, it went soft. So there could have been some damage that caused it or some rub or something like that, and it went soft going into Turn 3 and I hit the wall, unfortunately. I'm disappointed. We certainly had an awesome race car." The poor result is less of a worry for Johnson than it is for Gordon. With one win in pocket already, the No. 48 team has virtually clinched a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . It might be a little more concerning for Gordon, who actually jumped six spots in the standings -- up to 30th -- following his 26-point day. "It was a great effort," Gordon said. "I just can't believe the way these days are going." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Hendrick driver leads field ahead of Sunday's Kobalt 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX) Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live RELATED: Practice 3 results Jimmie Johnson swept both Sprint Cup Series practices Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway , pacing the weekend's final practice with a best speed of 187.637 mph. The six-time series champion appears to have his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet in prime condition for Sunday's Kobalt 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX) as the only driver to hit 187-plus mph in the last session. Johnson was trailed by Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano (186.916 mph), Casey Mears (186.458 mph), Martin Truex Jr . (186.438 mph) and defending champion Kevin Harvick (186.342 mph). Defending race-winner Brad Keselowski was ninth on the charts at 185.605, while Coors Light Pole Award winner Jeff Gordon was 14th at 185.306 mph. However, Gordon sustained damage in practice and had to go to a backup car and to the back of Sunday's field. RELATED: Gordon goes to backup car Also going to a backup car is David Ragan , who is filling in for Kyle Busch in the No. 18 Toyota and rode the wall late in the session and took significant damage on his ride side. Practice 2 " Results Jimmie Johnson vaulted to the top of the speed charts in the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice of the day Saturday morning at Las Vegas Motor Speedway . Johnson , driving the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet, turned a fast lap of 191.891 mph on the 1.5-mile track in preparation for Sunday's Kobalt 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX), the third event of the season and the first leg of the three-race West Coast Swing. The six-time series champion was two mph faster than any other driver, but below the track record of 194.679 mph set by Jeff Gordon in Coors Light Pole Qualifying on Friday. Last season's series runner-up Ryan Newman , driving the Richard Childress Racing No. 31 Chevrolet, was second-fastest at 189.773 mph in the 55-minute session. The veteran was trailed by reigning champion Kevin Harvick (189.667 mph), Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano (189.620 mph) and Dale Earnhardt Jr . (189.394 mph.) Defending race winner Brad Keselowski was 13th with a speed of 188.627 mph. Coors Light Pole Award winner Jeff Gordon , second in opening practice, was 14th at 188.324 mph. Aric Almirola spun off Turn 2 with just over nine minutes left in the practice session to bring out a caution. Several drivers filling in as substitutes had mixed fortunes: • David Ragan , making his second interim start in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota, was 16th (187.806 mph) in place of the injured Kyle Busch , out indefinitely with multiple lower-leg injuries suffered in a Feb. 21 crash during a NASCAR XFINITY Series event at Daytona International Speedway . • Brett Moffitt , filling Ragan's regular ride in the Front Row Motorsports No. 34 Ford for the first time, was 35th (184.723 mph) fastest as he prepares for just his ninth Sprint Cup start. • Regan Smith , subbing for suspended Kurt Busch in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 Chevrolet for the third consecutive week, was 22nd-fastest (186.981 mph). In a heartwarming return to the driver's seat after missing the first two races of the season, Brian Vickers was 29th-fastest in the Michael Waltrip Racing No. 55 Toyota. Vickers has spent the offseason recovering from heart surgery last December; team owner Michael Waltrip (Daytona) and Moffitt (Atlanta) drove the car in his place to start 2015. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Jimmie Johnson has a loose tire early in the race and then cuts down a tire twice sending him into the wall both times.
A stats-based look ahead as the series comes back East to Martinsville Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.-- Below is a look at some of the top statistical performers at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Virginia going into the STP 500 on March 29 (1 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1). MARTINSVILLE-SPECIFIC STATS Clint Bowyer (No. 15 5-Hour Energy Toyota) · Four top fives, 12 top 10s · Average finish of 12.1 · Average Running Position of 12.1, sixth-best · Driver Rating of 95.0, seventh-best · 296 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 91.276 mph, sixth-fastest · 6,586 Laps in the Top 15 (72.9%), seventh-most · 613 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green), sixth-most Dale Earnhardt Jr . (No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet) · One win, 12 top fives, 17 top 10s · Average finish of 12.4 · Average Running Position of 10.6, fourth-best · Driver Rating of 101.2, fourth-best · 523 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most · Series-high 1,181 Green Flag Passes · Average Green Flag Speed of 91.386 mph, fourth-fastest · 7,860 Laps in the Top 15 (78.3%), third-most · 719 Quality Passes, second-most Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet) · Eight wins, 28 top fives, 35 top 10s; seven poles · Average finish of 6.8 · Series-best Average Running Position of 6.6 · Driver Rating of 119.8, second-best · Series-high 1,105 Fastest Laps Run · 1,000 Green Flag Passes, ninth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 91.689 mph, second-fastest · 8,848 Laps in the Top 15 (88.2%), second-most · Series-high 754 Quality Passes Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota) · Four wins, nine top fives, 14 top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 8.7 · Average Running Position of 8.8, third-best · Driver Rating of 110.1, third-best · 612 Fastest Laps Run, third-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 91.473 mph, third-fastest · 7,503 Laps in the Top 15 (83.1%), fourth-most · 659 Quality Passes, fifth-most Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Budweiser / Jimmy John's Chevrolet) · One win, three top fives, 12 top 10s · Average finish of 16.4 · Average Running Position of 14.4, eighth-best · Driver Rating of 91.8, eighth-best · 255 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-most · 1,016 Green Flag Passes, eighth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 91.130 mph, eighth-fastest · 6,475 Laps in the Top 15 (64.5%), eighth-most · 593 Quality Passes, seventh-most Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet) · Eight wins, 18 top fives, 22 top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 6.2 · Average Running Position of 6.8, second-best · Series-best Driver Rating of 122.5 · 1,041 Fastest Laps Run, second-most · Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 91.700 mph · Series-high 8,932 Laps in the Top 15 (89.0%) · 689 Quality Passes, third-most Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Dollar General Toyota) · Four top fives, 11 top 10s · Average finish of 14.7 · Average Running Position of 15.7, 11th-best · Driver Rating of 84.9, 12th-best · 178 Fastest Laps Run, 11th-most · 1,097 Green Flag Passes, third-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 91.043 mph, 11th-fastest · 5,235 Laps in the Top 15 (52.2%), 12th-most Joey Logano (No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford) · Three top fives, four top 10s · Average finish of 14.0 · Average Running Position of 15.1, 10th-best · Driver Rating of 85.1, 10th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 91.036 mph, 12th-fastest Jamie McMurray (No. 1 CESSNA Chevrolet) · One top five, 12 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 17.3 · Driver Rating of 85.1, 11th-best · 195 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 91.060 mph, 10th-fastest · 5,471 Laps in the Top 15 (54.5%), 10th-most · 452 Quality Passes, 12th-most Ryan Newman (No. 31 Quicken Loans Chevrolet) · One win, eight top fives, 12 top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 15.0 · Average Running Position of 15.0, ninth-best · Driver Rating of 87.4, ninth-best · 1,071 Green Flag Passes, fifth-most · 5,843 Laps in the Top 15 (58.2%), ninth-most · 568 Quality Passes, ninth-most Tony Stewart (No. 14 Code 3 Associates / Mobil 1 Chevrolet) · Three wins, 10 top fives, 16 top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 13.6 · Average Running Position of 11.2, fifth-best · Driver Rating of 97.6, fifth-best · 397 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 91.253 mph, seventh-fastest · 6,711 Laps in the Top 15 (70.4%), sixth-most · 471 Quality Passes, 10th-most The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2015 Top 16 at Martinsville Speedway Rank Driver Races Poles Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs Average Finish Driver Rating 1 Kevin Harvick 27 0 1 3 12 1 16.4 91.8 2 Joey Logano 12 0 0 3 4 0 14.0 85.1 3 Martin Truex Jr . 18 0 0 2 4 2 23.1 68.7 4 Dale Earnhardt Jr . 30 0 1 12 17 2 12.4 101.2 5 Brad Keselowski 10 0 0 1 5 0 15.2 83.4 6 Ryan Newman 26 3 1 8 12 2 15.0 87.4 7 Jimmie Johnson 26 3 8 18 22 1 6.2 122.5 8 Kasey Kahne 22 1 0 3 4 5 21.1 76.4 9 Paul Menard 15 0 0 0 1 1 20.5 63.4 10 Aric Almirola 12 0 0 1 3 3 23.8 66.0 11 AJ Allmendinger 13 0 0 1 3 1 19.7 72.2 12 Casey Mears 23 0 0 0 3 2 23.5 64.0 13 Matt Kenseth 30 0 0 4 11 2 14.7 84.9 14 Denny Hamlin 18 3 4 9 14 1 8.7 110.1 15 David Ragan 17 0 0 0 2 1 22.0 64.5 16 Jamie McMurray 24 2 0 1 12 2 17.3 85.1 * – Based on last 20 races at Martinsville Speedway (2005 – 2014). Martinsville Speedway Data Season Race #: 6 of 36 (03-29-15) Track Size : 0.526-mile Banking/Turn 1 & 2 : 12 degrees Banking/Turn 3 & 4 : 12 degrees Banking/Frontstretch : 0 degrees Banking/Backstretch : 0 degrees Frontstretch Length : 800 feet Backstretch Length : 800 feet Race Length : 500 laps / 263 miles Top 10 Driver Ratings at Martinsville Jimmie Johnson ........................ 122.5 Jeff Gordon .............................. 119.8 Denny Hamlin ............................ 110.1 Dale Earnhardt Jr . ..................... 101.2 Tony Stewart ............................... 97.6 Kyle Busch ................................. 96.2 Clint Bowyer ............................... 95.0 Kevin Harvick .............................. 91.8 Ryan Newman ............................. 87.4 Joey Logano .............................. 85.1 Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2014 races (20 total) among active drivers at Martinsville Speedway . Qualifying/Race Data 2014 pole winner : Kyle Busch , Toyota 99.674 mph, 18.998 secs. 03-28-14 2014 race winner : Kurt Busch , Chevrolet 72.176 mph, (03:38:38), 03-30-14 Track qualifying record: Jamie McMurray , Chevrolet 99.905 mph, 18.954 secs. 10-24-14 Track race record: Jeff Gordon , Chevrolet 82.223 mph, (3:11:55), 09-22-96 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 132 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Martinsville Speedway , one in the inaugural year and two races per year since 1950. · 602 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville; 380 in more than one. · NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty has the all-time most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Martinsville with 67; Jeff Gordon has the most starts among active drivers with 44. · 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). · 48 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 22. · 21 of 132 races (15.9%) 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 132 (27.2%) 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 132 (71.9%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Martinsville Speedway have been won from a top-10 starting position. · Seven of the 132 (5.3%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Martinsville Speedway have been won from a starting position outside the top 20 – including both races last season. · 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 leads all active drivers with five, followed by his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson with four. · Richard Petty leads the series in top-five finishes at Martinsville Speedway with 30; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 28, 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 35, 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 7.318. Denny Hamlin (9.500) and Ryan Newman (9.654) are the only 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 (6.231), Jeff Gordon (6.841) and Denny Hamlin (8.722). · 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 (44). · 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) and Michael McDowell (3/30/2008) are active drivers that 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. Jimmie Johnson is the most recent driver to win consecutive races (Fall of 2012 / Spring of 2013) at Martinsville. · 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 (2000) 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. · Two active drivers have made 10 or more attempts before their first win at Martinsville Speedway : Kevin Harvick (19) and Ryan Newman (20). · Chevrolet leads series in wins at Martinsville Speedway with 54 victories – including the last eight consecutive races. · Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Martinsville Speedway is the April 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. Below are Patrick’s stats at Martinsville. Driver Starting Position Finishing Position Driver Rating Date Danica Patrick 32 12 72.6 4/7/2013 Danica Patrick 41 17 64.7 10/27/2013 Danica Patrick 10 32 52.4 3/30/2014 Danica Patrick 30 34 61.3 10/26/2014 · 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 an
Get up to speed before Sunday's Auto Club 400 (3:30 p.m., FOX) Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live What: 19th Annual Auto Club 400 . Where: Auto Club Speedway , Fontana, California When: Sunday, March 22; 3:30 pm ET. TV/Radio: FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Distance: 200 laps; 400 miles Pit road speed: 55 mph Caution car speed: 65 mph Fuel window: 40 laps On the front row " Full starting lineup 1. Kurt Busch , Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 Chevrolet (185.142 mph) 2. Kevin Harvick , Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Chevrolet (185.047 mph) Fast fact: Jimmie Johnson (2008) is the only driver to win this race from the pole. Failed to qualify Reed Sorenson , RAB Racing No. 29 Toyota; Travis Kvapil Team Xtreme No. 44 Chevrolet Fastest in practice First practice: Kurt Busch , Stewart-Haas Racing , No. 41 Chevrolet (186.741 mph) " Full results Second practice: Kurt Busch , Stewart-Haas Racing , No. 41 Chevrolet (187.115 mph) " Full results Final practice: Kurt Busch , Stewart-Haas Racing , No. 41 Chevrolet (184.971 mph) " Full results Harvick, Jimmie Johnson and David Ragan (filling in for the injured Kyle Busch ) were also consistently fast in practice. Last year's winner: Kyle Busch won last year's race at Fontana and the race in 2013 but won't be here to defend the title as he remains at home in North Carolina recovering from a broken leg and foot -- injuries sustained in an accident during the season-opening NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona. On the line: Harvick has finished first or second in the last seven Sprint Cup races dating back to the end of the 2014 season -- a mark last accomplished by Richard Petty 40 years ago. Harvick holds a two-race winning streak entering Sunday's race and a win would give him a sweep of NASCAR's West Coast swing. History lesson: Six-time champ Jimmie Johnson has a series-best five wins at his "home track." The El Cajon, California native is far and away the top-rated driver here. Joe Gibbs Racing driver Matt Kenseth (3), Johnson's Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon (3) and Stewart-Haas Racing 's Tony Stewart are the only other drivers in Sunday's field with multiple wins at Auto Club Speedway . Johnson , Kenseth and Carl Edwards are the only drivers to have made multiple starts here and have top-10 average finishes. Super Subs: Three drivers are substituting for others this weekend. Brett Moffitt , 22, is driving the No. 55 Toyota for regular driver Brian Vickers who is sidelined while taking blood-thinning medication to treat a reoccurrence of blood clots. It's Moffitt's fourth Cup start this year and his second with Michael Waltrip Racing this season. His last start with MWR was an eighth-place finish at Atlanta three weeks ago. David Ragan is driving the defending race-winning No. 18 Toyota car for the injured Busch. XFINITY Series regular Chris Buescher is making his Cup debut in the No. 34 Ford that Moffitt has driven the last two weeks. Redemption: Denny Hamlin is one driver with extra motivation to win here. He was badly injured in an accident while challenging for the lead in the final lap of the 2013 race. Last year, he had to pull out of the race only minutes before the green flag after a piece of metal was embedded in his eye. Hamlin is tied with a series-best three pole positions at Fontana including three straight front row starts from 2011 to 13, yet has only one top-five in 13 starts here to show for it. California Dreamin': There are 10 drivers in Sunday's field from California, the largest representation of any state and a mark of NASCAR's exposure West. The reigning Sprint Cup Series champion Harvick (Bakersfield), along with six-time champ Johnson (El Cajon) and four-time champ Gordon (Vallejo) are among those hailing from the Golden State. Those three drivers have nine wins among them at Auto Club Speedway and California drivers have the most of any state. They said it: "We love coming out here. The weather is great. I was watching clips from this race the last time we were here where we were five-wide through the corners. You can't make that kind of racing up. That is incredible. I think that everybody needs to recognize just how good of a race track this is and also the market and how important it is to NASCAR and its growth." -- Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet) Driver Rating Best driver rating average at Auto Club Speedway based on past 10 years: Jimmie Johnson , Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet (120.1) Matt Kenseth , Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota (106.2) Tony Stewart , Stewart-Haas Racing No. 14 Chevrolet (100.7) Former Auto Club Speedway winners in the field Jimmie Johnson (5); Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth (3); Tony Stewart (2); Kevin Harvick , Carl Edwards , Kurt Busch , Kasey Kahne and Greg Biffle (1) MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Coors Light Pole Award winner also topped Friday's lone practice Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live RELATED: Practice 2 results Kurt Busch continued his reign as the fastest at Fontana, topping Saturday's opening practice session for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with a fast lap of 187.115 mph. Busch will be making just his second start since NASCAR reinstated him from a suspension that caused him to miss the opening three races of the 2015 season. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver has shown plenty of speed out of the gate this weekend as he topped Friday's lone practice session and also scored the Coors Light Pole Award for Sunday's Auto Club 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX). Jimmie Johnson (184.247 mph), David Ragan (184.237 mph), Ryan Newman (183.969 mph) and Brian Scott (183.960 mph) rounded out the top five from the 55-minute practice session. Martin Truex Jr . (183.814 mph), Brad Keselowski (183.594 mph), AJ Allmendinger (183.510 mph), Kevin Harvick (183.416 mph) and Casey Mears (183.351 mph) placed sixth through 10th in the session. Harvick, who qualified for a spot on the front row next to his SHR teammate Busch, is looking to sweep the three-race West Coast swing with a win at Fontana. FINAL PRACTICE " Results Another Auto Club Speedway practice produced the same result we have seen at the top all weekend with Kurt Busch once again leading the way with a fast lap of 184.971 mph. The 36-year-old driver topped all three practice sessions at the 2-mile track leading into Sunday's Auto Club 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX). The veteran driver scored a third-place finish at the California track last year, but has just one win at the venue, which came in 2003. Paul Menard (183.885 mph), Kevin Harvick (183.220 mph), Casey Mears (183.146 mph) and Jimmie Johnson (182.992 mph) placed second through fifth in the 55-minute final practice session. The Chevrolet dominance of the practice leaderboard extended to spots six and seven, with Martin Truex Jr . (182.783 mph) and Ryan Newman (182.699 mph) occupying those slots. Team Penske teammates Joey Logano (182.348 mph) and Brad Keselowski (182.292 mph) were the top Fords on the board, placing eighth and ninth for the session, respectively. Dale Earnhardt Jr . rounded out the top 10 with a lap of 182.099 mph. David Ragan , who qualified fourth and is making his fourth start filling in for the injured Kyle Busch , was the highest-placing Toyota in the final practice, coming in 12th. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule