Tag Archives: STP 500

Kurt Busch Takes Done to a New Level at Martinsville Speedway

Kurt Busch started the STP 500 from a disappointing 22nd starting point at Martinsville Speedway. He battled all day to win his first NASCAR Sprint Cup race in 83 races. He now has one win and is eligible for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Battled is an understatement. He started deep in the field and at one point hit Brad Keselowski on Pit Road when several cars checked up entering their pit. Brad Keselowski came back on the track to execute payback or at the very least antagonize Kurt. Kurt Busch or should we say the new Kurt Busch wanted nothing to do with it. As well he should.

Yeah, I can’t believe he overreacted and he’s as upset as he is.  The 5 car was trying to pull into his box, Brad ran into the back of him, I steered right to go around Brad and then he clobbers our left‑side door, and it’s like, okay, accidents happen on pit road.” Busch added, “It’s congested.  It’s not a place to race, because of all the pit crew guys down there and I didn’t think much of it, and then once we were back out running, he targeted us, he was aiming for us.  He tried to flatten all four of my tires.  That’s a no‑fly zone.  That’s a punk‑ass move and he will get what he gets back when I decide to give it back.

After his contact with Brad Keselowski on pit road his car was damaged and Busch told his team the car was done. He would not be able to win the race for them. But, Busch made it into the top ten by lap 175. It was only a matter of staying there.

Busch was nothing but appreciated of the whole Stewart Haas organization and his team. He couldn’t say enough about the opportunity they and Hendrick Motorsports have given him.

Busch said, “To deliver for Gene Haas this early, it shows the potential of this team.  I know Kevin Harvick won earlier this year at Phoenix, and I think our strength this year with the Haas Automation Chevy and most of Stewart‑Haas Racing has been at the short tracks. A win like today is a great step forward.  I don’t want it to camouflage any of the work, though, that we still have to do to make our car stronger and to be more competitive week in and week out, but don’t think that I’m not going to enjoy this for one moment.

Kurt Busch has now won a race and might be locked into the Chase for the Sprint Cup. But he knows that he might not be. It might take more than one win and it certainly will take keeping up with the competition in order to actually win the Chase.

It’s going to fill up quick, and we have to do our job on this 41 team to develop as a team and to be a bona fide chase contender when the Chase starts.” Busch added, “So we’re not going to rest on this win.  We have a long way to go, though, to get up into that top 16 in points, and once we get there, let’s keep digging.  Consistency now is what we’ll focus on.  A win is a win.  If we get a second win, that’s when I would call ourselves locked in.  But we have this consistency battle that we have in front of us, and I’m up for this challenge, especially when you have all this weight lifted on your shoulders with a win so early.

It’s great seeing Kurt Busch have early success. It will be even better to see that success translate to more success. Just like cautions breed cautions, success breeds success. This is just the beginning for Kurt Busch and Stewart Haas Racing.

Kurt Busch gets to be the sixth new winner in the 2014 season to put the winner sticker on his car. Who will be next?

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 296903 Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images

Can Dale Earnhardt Jr. Use His Momentum to Win at Martinsville?

Martinsville Speedway is one of the best tracks for Dale Earnhardt Jr. The only thing he hasn’t been able to do is win there. Dale Earnhardt Jr. will try again this weekend when NASCAR returns to the Martinsville Speedway for the STP 500.

The Martinsville Speedway is a true oval shaped track. When looked at from above it resembles a paper clip. It is .526 miles in length and it is relatively flat with only 12 degrees of banking in the corners and none on the straight away. Since it is a short track, the race is 500 laps, or 263 miles.

The driver ratings for the Martinsville Speedway are like a lot of tracks. Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers with a dominating rating of 124. Jeff Gordon, Johnson’s teammate is close behind with an equally dominating rating of 121. Denny Hamlin has a rating of 111.4 which would be impressive if not for Johnson and Gordon’s. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has a good but not great driver rating of 98.9.

The collective strength of the Hendrick Motorsports teammates, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne at Martinsville will prove formidable to the competition. They all do very well there.

Racing at Martinsville is as exciting as it gets. The track is not very wide leading to very close racing. This includes the tempers that go with it. Sometimes there can be the short track version of the Big One because a multiple car spin can block the whole track. The short track racing at Martinsville is always exciting.

Every seat at Martinsville is the best seat in the house. I think it’s a great place to watch a race.” Earnhardt added, “I used to go up there and watch when I was a kid. It was only an hour and a half up the road so we never missed that race. I’ve been going there forever, and I love racing there.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is in the best position he has ever been in at this point in the season. He loves racing at Martinsville and can have fun and win the race.

If you cannot get to Martinsville Speedway for the STP 500 it will be broadcast live on FOX, Sunday, March 30th starting at 12:30 PM ET.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 284577 Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

Top 10 Driver Ratings at Martinsville
Jimmie Johnson…………………… 124.0
Jeff Gordon………………………… 121.1
Denny Hamlin………………………. 111.4
Dale Earnhardt Jr…………………… 98.9
Tony Stewart…………………………. 98.5
Kyle Busch…………………………… 97.0
Clint Bowyer…………………………. 93.8
Kevin Harvick………………………… 92.9
Brad Keselowski……………………. 89.2
Ryan Newman……………………….. 87.4
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2013 races (18 total) among active drivers at Martinsville Speedway.