MARTINSVILLE, Va. - After an off weekend to celebrate the Easter Holiday, NASCAR returns to competition this weekend with the NASCAR XFINITY and NASCAR Cup Series running under the lights at Martinsville Speedway. The NASCAR XFINITY Series kicks things off at 8 p.m. on Friday while the Cup Series follows on Saturday with a 7:30 p.m. green flag start.
This Week’s Schedule:
Friday, Apr. 9 – NASCAR XFINITY Series, 8 p.m. ET (FS1)
Saturday, Apr. 10 – NASCAR Cup Series, 7:30 p.m. ET (FS1)
FORD IN THE NASCAR CUP SERIES AT MARTINSVILLE
· Ford has 30 series wins at Martinsville Speedway.
· Ford has won four of the last eight series events at Martinsville.
· Brad Keselowski has two of those wins while Joey Logano has one.
FORD IN THE NASCAR XFINITY SERIES AT MARTINSVILLE
· Ford has 1 series win at Martinsville Speedway.
· Kenny Wallace has that lone series win (1994).
· Austin Cindric finished 10th in this event one year ago
FORD AND TEAM PENSKE GOING FOR THREE STRAIGHT CUP WINS
Back-to-back NASCAR Cup Series victories by Ryan Blaney (Atlanta) and Joey Logano (Bristol Dirt) has vaulted Ford into the lead for most wins by a manufacturer to start the 2021 season. Ford now has three wins overall while Chevrolet and Toyota have two apiece. The last time a pair of drivers from the same organization won consecutive Cup events for Ford was last season when Kevin Harvick won at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Stewart-Haas teammate Cole Custer followed with his first series win at Kentucky Motor Speedway. A win at Martinsville this weekend by Brad Keselowski would mark the first time one Ford organization has won three straight races with three different drivers.
LOGANO AND KESELOWSKI TIED ON ALL-TIME FORD WIN LIST
Logano’s victory on the Bristol dirt was his 27th career NASCAR Cup Series triumph and 25th since joining Ford and Team Penske in 2013. Those 25 wins tie him with teammate Brad Keselowski for eighth on the all-time Ford Cup Series win list. They’re next victory will tie them with NASCAR Hall of Famers Fred Lorenzen and Junior Johnson, who each won 26 times with the Blue Oval. Ford’s all-time leader is Ned Jarrett with 43 while Bill Elliott (40), Mark Martin (35), Dale Jarrett (30) and David Pearson (29) round out the top five.
Martinsville Speedway has not historically been Ford’s best track, but that has changed the past few seasons. After enduring a 28-race winless drought at NASCAR’s oldest track, Ford goes into Saturday’s event having won four of the last eight overall. That includes a sweep in 2018 when Clint Bowyer and Joey Logano found their way to Victory Lane, marking the first time Ford captured both NASCAR Cup Series races in the same season since 2001. Brad Keselowski continued Ford’s hot streak when he won the spring race in 2019.
BOWYER NETS FIRST FORD WIN
Clint Bowyer snapped a 190-race winless stretch by leading the final 114 laps to win the weather-delayed STP 500 in 2018. The win was Bowyer’s first with Ford and ninth of his career. He passed Ryan Blaney on lap 285 to gain the lead for the first time, and when Jamie McMurray brought out the caution 100 laps later after hitting the wall, Bowyer’s pit crew got him back out with the lead and that proved to be the difference. That capped a big day for Ford, which had five drivers finish in the Top 10 and saw Blaney win Stage 2.
LOGANO PUNCHES CHAMPIONSHIP 4 TICKET
When NASCAR came to Martinsville in 2018 for the Round of 8 opener, Joey Logano emerged with an automatic berth into the Championship 4 after a dramatic final lap battle with Martin Truex Jr. Logano, who has five poles at the track, was dominant all day as he led a race-high 309 laps, but Truex challenged and took the lead on the final lap. Logano used his bumper to get inside Truex coming off turn four and the two ended up banging doors to the checkered flag with Logano narrowly beating him and Denny Hamlin.
KESELOWSKI WINS FIRST CLOCK
Brad Keselowski outdueled Kyle Busch down the stretch to win his first grandfather clock after capturing the STP 500 on Apr. 2, 2017. The two drivers waged a memorable battle that saw them swap the lead five times in the last 160 laps, but Keselowski ended up making the decisive pass on lap 458 and led the final 43 circuits to become the first repeat winner in 2017. Prior to winning at Martinsville, Keselowski took the checkered flag at Atlanta in the second race of the season.
A FIRST FOR FRED
The first time Ford won a NASCAR Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway also marked the first career victory for 2015 NASCAR Hall of Famer Fred Lorenzen. The date was April 9, 1961 and Lorenzen battled Rex White, who led the first 118 laps after starting on the pole. Lorenzen, driving for Holman-Moody at the time, grabbed the lead on lap 119 and held it until rain came ending the race prematurely after 149 circuits. Little did anyone know that 54 years later both men would be enshrined into the NASCAR Hall of Fame as part of the same induction class. Martinsville was a place Lorenzen dominated, winning six times, including four straight from 1963-65. He was absolutely unbeatable in 1964 as he led 990 out of a possible 1,000 laps (487 in the first and 493 in the second) in winning both races.
CRAVEN WINS FIRST CUP RACE
Ricky Craven outlasted Dale Jarrett over the final laps to post the first victory of his NASCAR Cup Series career on Oct. 15, 2001 at Martinsville Speedway. Pit strategy played a key role in this race as Jarrett opted for four tires on his final stop while Craven just got two. That enabled Craven to build a lead following the ensuing restart with 17 to go, but Jarrett gained ground and found himself in position to win on the final lap. That’s when Jarrett went to the outside going into turn one and got side-by-side with Craven coming off turn two. Both Fords made contact door-to-door entering turn three, but Craven emerged off four with the advantage and took the checkered flag.
RUDD ROUGHS IT OUT
No driver displayed more toughness during his career than Ricky Rudd and that was evident again in 1998 when the Virginia native endured burns on his backside to win the NAPA Autocare 500 on Sept. 27. On a day that saw temperatures in the mid-nineties, Rudd found himself in a bad way just five laps into the race when his cooling unit failed. As the cockpit got hotter he asked to have a relief driver standing by, so Hut Stricklin was in the pit area ready to takeover. Ice packs helped momentarily, but his back was blistering so the team tried to cool him off with a hose. Unfortunately, the hose they used had been lying in the sun, so when they doused him the first time the water was hot. That method worked better on later stops, but in the end it was Rudd who toughed it out and led the final 96 laps to win and extend his streak to 16 consecutive seasons with at least one NASCAR Cup Series win.
BUSCH BEATS BENSON
When Kurt Busch won at Martinsville Speedway was on Oct. 20, 2002 he set a track record for winning from the furthest starting position after taking the green flag in 36th-place. It took him all day to eventually get to the front of the field, but he took the lead on lap 389 and surrendered it for only one lap to Johnny Benson the rest of the way in posting his second career win. Benson was all over Busch’s bumper in the closing laps as lap traffic created plenty of drama, but Busch was able to weave his way through and take the checkered flag.
FORD NASCAR CUP SERIES WINNERS AT MARTINSVILLE
1961 – Fred Lorenzen (1)
1962 – Nelson Stacy (2)
1963 – Fred Lorenzen (2)
1964 – Fred Lorenzen (Sweep)
1965 – Fred Lorenzen and Junior Johnson
1966 – Fred Lorenzen (2)
1969 – Richard Petty (Sweep)
1986 – Ricky Rudd (1)
1990 – Geoffrey Bodine (Sweep)
1992 – Mark Martin and Geoffrey Bodine
1993 – Ernie Irvan (2)
1994 – Rusty Wallace (Sweep)
1995 – Rusty Wallace (1)
1996 – Rusty Wallace (1)
1997 – Jeff Burton (1)
1998 – Ricky Rudd (2)
2000 – Mark Martin (1)
2001 – Dale Jarrett and Ricky Craven
2002 – Kurt Busch (2)
2017 – Brad Keselowski (1)
2018 – Clint Bowyer and Joey Logano
2019 – Brad Keselowski (1)
FORD NASCAR XFINITY SERIES WINNERS AT MARTINSVILLE
1994 – Kenny Wallace