TEAM CHEVY ADVANCE BLUE-EMU MAXIMUM PAIN RELIEF 500 MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY RIDGEWAY, VIRGINIA APRIL 10, 2021
RACE #8 – MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAYThe challenging Martinsville Speedway, which has hosted two NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) races per season since 1950, is the site this week for the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 and NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) Cook Out 250.
Chase Elliott won the last NASCAR Cup Series race on .526-mile paperclip on November 1, 2020, on the way to wrapping up his first NCS Driver Championship. Starting eighth based on metric qualifying in his No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, Elliott led 236 of the 500 laps. Elliott, who made his NCS debut at Martinsville Speedway in the sixth race of the 2015 season, has four top-five and six top-10 finishes in 11 races at the track.
Career Chevrolet driver Jimmie Johnson is the last driver to win from the pole or No. 1 starting position — in April 2013, the eighth of his nine victories at the track. Kurt Busch leads active drivers with 41 starts and 19,883 laps completed. Busch, No. 1 GEARWRENCH Camaro ZL1 1LE, has won at the track in 2014 and 2002 (from the 36th starting position) and has 10 short track victories in his NCS career.
Justin Allgaier, No. 7 Walmart Fight Hunger Camaro SS, will lead the Chevrolet contingent to the green flag in the Cook Out 250 from the outside of the front row. Allgaier, who won at Atlanta two weeks ago, was runner-up in the October 2020 race at Martinsville. AJ Allmendinger, No. 16 Ellsworth Advisors Camaro SS, who won the NXC race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and is fourth in the Driver Standings, will start third.
FS1 will telecast the NASCAR Cup Series’ 500-lap/263-mile Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at 7:30 p.m. EDT Saturday, April 10.
57 WINS AND COUNTINGChevrolet leads all manufacturers with 57 victories at Martinsville Speedway, including 25 by Hendrick Motorsports – Jeff Gordon and Johnson with nine; Darrell Waltrip with four; and Geoff Bodine, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Elliott with one each. Chevrolet has 797 NASCAR Cup Series wins to lead all manufacturers.
FOUR IN THE TOP-10Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 5 Camaro ZL1 1LE, is fourth in the NCS Driver Standings. William Byron, No. 24 Camaro ZL1 LE, is sixth and Chase Elliott, No. 9 Camaro ZL1 1LE, is ninth. Austin Dillon, No. 3 Camaro ZL1 1LE, is tied for 10th.
Larson and Byron have secured their spots in the 10-race Playoff run after winning already this season. Byron, who has scored five top-eight finishes in a row, was runner-up in the October 2019 race at Martinsville.
ON THE WAY TO THE GREENWith no practice or qualifying for the race, the starting lineup is determined by NASCAR’s metrics system that was introduced to the series last year and incorporates results from both individual races and season-long results. Here are Team Chevy’s Top-20 starters: 3rd William Byron, No. 24 Liberty University Camaro ZL1 1LE5th Chase Elliott, No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Camaro ZL1 1LE6th Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 47 Kroger/Crest Camaro ZL1 1LE11th Daniel Suarez, No. 99 Camping World Camaro ZL1 1LE13th Tyler Reddick, No. 8 Childress Vineyards Camaro ZL1 1LE17th Ryan Preece, No. 37 Louisiana Hot Sauce Camaro ZL1 1LE18th Austin Dillon, No. 3 American Ethanol Camaro ZL1 1LE19th Kyle Larson, No. 5 HendrickCars.com Camaro ZL1 1LE20th Alex Bowman, No. 48 Ally Camaro ZL1 1LE
BOWTIE BULLETS· Chevrolet leads all manufacturers with 698 laps led – 197 more than its closest competitor.
· Chevrolet leads all manufacturers with 32 top-10 finishes – 10 more than its closest competitor.
· In addition to its 57 NCS wins at Martinsville, Chevrolet has amassed 264 top-five and 503 top-10 finishes. Chevrolet drivers have led 27,656 laps.
· Justin Haley will pull double duty this weekend, driving the No. 7 Camaro SS in the NXS race and the No. 77 Camaro ZL1 1LE in the NCS race. Haley made his NXS debut at Martinsville Speedway in 2020.
· Kyle Larson paces all drivers with 379 laps led in the seven races. He’s also the leader in fastest laps (237) and quality passes (446).
· Kyle Larson (9.5) and Willian Byron (10.7) are in the top-five of average running position.
· Career Chevrolet driver Jeff Gordon is the all-time leader with 38 top-10 finishes in 47 races at Martinsville.
· Austin Dillon, No. 3 Camaro ZL1 1LE, has completed all but two of the 1,694 laps.
· Chase Elliott (Daytona Road Course), William Byron (Homestead-Miami Speedway) and Kyle Larson (Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway 2) have stage wins.
TUNE INFS1 will telecast the NASCAR Cup Series 500-lap/263-mile Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 live at 7:30 p.m. EDT Saturday, April 10. FS1 will telecast the NASCAR Xfinity Series 250-lap/131.5-mile Cook Out 250 at 8 p.m. EDT Friday, April 9. Live coverage can also be found on MRN and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.
QUOTABLE QUOTES KYLE LARSON, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 4th IN STANDINGSLARSON ON MARTINSVILLE’S CHALLENGES: “Martinsville is probably one of my worst tracks – it’s been the toughest for me to figure out since there are so many challenges there. It’s a different style than what I grew up racing. You’re hard on the brakes and you need to be consistent with that while hitting your marks lap after lap. It’s such a challenge to do all that and keep up with the changing lines throughout the race. Hopefully, someday I can win a Martinsville clock.”
CLIFF DANIELS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CAMARO ZL1 1LEDANIELS ON WORKING WITH LARSON AT MARTINSVILLE’S WET WEATHER TIRE TEST LAST WEEK: “Testing was cool, and it’s always good to have more time with Kyle. It helps our team continue the rhythm we’re in – just being able to cut laps around the place with him in one of our cars is always helpful. NASCAR has some good rain tire options if they choose to use them in the future.”
DANIELS ON FINISHING TENTH WITH JIMMIE JOHNSON IN 2020: “We led a lot of laps early but didn’t keep up with the track as well as we should have. We were just an adjustment behind. We got up front, we led laps, and we knew the car was fast, but we didn’t want to over-adjust so we made small adjustments. After looking back at our notes, the track really tightened up throughout the race. Our teammates got aggressive with their changes and we were just a step behind.”
WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 LIBERTY UNIVERSITY CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 6th IN STANDINGSBYRON ON THE CHALLENGES OF RACING AT MARTINSVILLE:“Martinsville Speedway is always difficult no matter how many times you’ve raced there. You have to balance the entry of the corner to how you turn in the middle, all while not allowing the guy behind you to get underneath you on the exit of the corner. You want to be aggressive enough to make up ground but also not overly aggressive that you lose track position early on. It’s a track that requires patience and the knowledge of when to push it and when to save. It’s a challenge for sure but I enjoy it. It makes it tough on the drivers to get around there.” BYRON ON ADJUSTING TO THE REMOVAL OF THE INFIELD GRASS AT MARTINSVILLE:“I’m interested to see what it’s like with the grass removed but I don’t think it will change much on the racetrack. The only thing I think that will be different is your visual cues. You’ll have to get use to looking at the concrete at the start of the race and set new marks for yourself in the corners. That’s always critical there. It will make the first couple laps interesting but once you figure those marks out, it will get easier as the race goes.” CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 9th IN STANDINGS“Last year’s win at Martinsville was huge for us. It’s great to know that we’ve had some good runs at there, but you always have to keep in mind that your past success doesn’t equal success in the future. It never has and I don’t think it ever will – that’s just racing. So, I think for us, we will have some good information from last year and I look forward to getting to Martinsville this weekend and seeing what we can do.” AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 AMERICAN ETHANOL CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 11th IN STANDINGS“I really like Martinsville Speedway. It is one of those places where you go through so many emotions during the course the race. Someone might bump you and that give-and-take can get frustrating. It’s a short little paper clip, with hard-braking corners. We’ve had some solid runs there, and I think that we can go back and do it again. We’d love to have a good run at Martinsville Speedway.”
RICKY STENHOUSE JR., NO. 47 KROGER/CREST CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 14th IN STANDINGS“I think short track racing at Martinsville Speedway with the lights is going to be awesome. NASCAR Cup Series cars, an especially our No. 47 Kroger/Crest Chevrolet, look better under the lights and we know fans love seeing the sparks fly. Martinsville always has a lot of contact and beating and banging so going into it expecting that I think is half the battle. Martinsville is not typically my favorite track, but we’re on a really strong momentum swing right now with strong runs at Bristol and Atlanta so I’m looking forward to racing after a week off and keeping that going.”
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 48 ALLY CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 16th IN STANDINGSBOWMAN ON GETTING BACK ON TRACK AFTER THE WEEKEND OFF: “It was nice to have a weekend off last week. A week off is nice, but I am ready to get to Martinsville this weekend. We had two top-10 finishes at the track last season and I think we have a good notebook to lean on for Saturday night’s race. Hendrick Motorsports has been strong at Martinsville in the past and I feel like our teams can lean on each other a bit for this weekend’s race.”
GREG IVES, CREW CHIEF, NO. 48 ALLY CAMARO ZL1 1LE“Anytime you have night races, you prepare a little bit differently depending on the track grip. There were times when you would start the race during the day and then it would end at night, but this is a true night race. Now we just have to worry about if the track is going to rubber up or not. I think it is generally going to be a clean track and hopefully we can get another groove in there. You might see some fender banging to make the pass. You might have some tempers flare, but it’s just short track racing.”
RYAN PREECE, NO. 37 LOUISIANA HOT SAUCE CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 18th IN STANDINGS“I’m looking forward to racing at Martinsville Speedway under the lights this Saturday night. We’ve got a new look on our No. 37 Louisiana Hot Sauce Chevrolet, and I’m lucky enough to be running the Modified race on Thursday night and get plenty of laps in before the NASCAR Cup Series hits the track on Saturday. Martinsville is one of my favorite tracks, we’ve had some strong runs there in the Cup Series and I’ve been fortunate enough to get a win in the Modified Series there so I feel good about it, and feel like we are heading the right direction to come out with a strong run.”
DANIEL SUAREZ, NO. 99 CAMPING WORLD CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 20th IN STANDINGS“I love going to Martinsville. It’s just a different atmosphere and they have things so unique to them – the trophy, the style of track, etc. Martinsville is cool because it’s one of the old-school tracks that we go to. I drive back and forth from home and it’s a unique place. It reminds me kind of like a Late Model race, where it’s just a different environment from the big tracks we usually go to.”
ERIK JONES, NO. 43 PETTY’S GARAGE CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 22nd in STANDINGSWHAT CAN YOU EXPECT FROM A NIGHT RACE AT MARTINSVILLE?“I think the Martinsville Speedway is going to be good for our Richard Petty Motorsports team. I look at last year and how we ran there in the fall race, which ended at night, and when the sun went down was when the team was at its best. Between that race, and the way Richard Petty Motorsports has run the last few years at Martinsville (Speedway), I feel good about going into the weekend.
“It is going to be a cool race. It is the first true night race at the Martinsville Speedway for the NASCAR Cup Series, which is going to be fun. I think we are all looking forward to the race, and what it is going to look like. I am excited to get there.”
TYLER REDDICK, NO. 8 CHILDRESS VINEYARDS CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 25th IN STANDINGSLAST YEAR WAS YOUR FIRST TIME RACING AT MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY SINCE 2016. WHAT ARE SOME THINGS YOU LEARNED THAT WILL BE HELPFUL FOR THIS WEEKEND? “One thing I think that really stood out not just to me, but a lot of the drivers was how hot that June Martinsville race was. Everyone is so used to it being cold at Martinsville that the heat really took everyone by surprise. So, I’m definitely taking my hydration seriously this week to avoid being overheated this time around. We also saw the track change a lot during both races, and we needed to do a better job of keeping up with it. That’ll be a major focus this time for us. This track is one of my crew chief’s favorites so I’m confident we’ll have a good plan for our No. 8 Childress Vineyards Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE on Saturday night.”
COREY LAJOIE, NO. 7 ARK.IO CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 29th IN STANDINGS“Really looking forward to getting to Martinsville this weekend. Statistically, it’s turned into one of my better tracks, but also one of my favorites to drive. It’s awesome to have Travis and Ark.io back on the Chevy Camaro this weekend as he continues to support my racing career. This race is the first true short track race of the year, so I’m excited to see what Ryan Sparks and my team at Spire Motorsports can accomplish at the paper clip this weekend!”