Preview: STP 500 NASCAR Cup Race at Martinsville Rescheduled Due to Weather
NASCAR is preparing for a doubleheader on Monday at Martinsville Speedway thanks to snow and rain.
Martinsville is more than a half mile of mayhem, and on top of that, it’s currently a winter playground. Thanks to Mother Nature blessing the track with a few inches of snow, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup race at Martinsville Speedway was suspended. The forecast showed no signs of inclement weather on race day that would prevent the 500-lap spectacle from going on as scheduled, but the aftermath from the snowfall the day prior proved to be too much to overcome.
The Alpha Energy Solutions 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race was stopped 23 laps in and rescheduled to resume on Sunday setting up a double header. To the dismay of diehard NASCAR fans, fate intervened and the race is now rescheduled for 11 a.m. EST on Monday, preceding the STP 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race. Below is everything you need to know about the Cup race that is now running on Monday.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Schedule for Monday at Martinsville:
STP 500 (Follow live)
The Place: Martinsville Speedway
The Date: Monday, March 26
The Time: Approximately 2 p.m. EST
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 500 miles (263 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 130), Stage 2 (Ends on lap 260), Final Stage (Ends on lap 500)
Press Pass (Watch live)
Post-Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race: 5:45 p.m. EST
Cup drivers completed both practices on Saturday. Qualifying was canceled due to rain. The pole for Martinsville won't officially count, but Martin Truex Jr., NASCAR’s 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup champion will start from the top position. Field positions were determined by owners’ points, and Martin Truex Jr.’s Furniture Row Racing crew is currently leading all Cup teams.
(Position, Driver, Manufacturer, Speed)
1. Martin Truex Jr., 5-Hour ENERGY/Bass Pro Shops Toyota
2. Kyle Busch, M&M's Caramel Toyota
3. Joey Logano, Shell Pennzoil Ford
4. Brad Keselowski, Reese/DrawTite Ford
5. Ryan Blaney, Menards/Libman Ford
6. Denny Hamlin, FedEx Ground Toyota
7. Kyle Larson, Credit One Bank/DC Solar Chevrolet
8. Kevin Harvick, Jimmy John's Ford
9. Clint Bowyer, Haas Automation Demo Day Ford
10. Aric Almirola, Mobil 1 Ford
11. Kurt Busch, Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford
12. Austin Dillon, American Ethanol Chevrolet
13. Erik Jones, Circle K Toyota
14. Ryan Newman, eBay Motors Chevrolet
15. Paul Menard, Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford
16. Alex Bowman, Nationwide Chevrolet
17. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Fastenal Ford
18. Jimmie Johnson, Lowe's for Pros Chevrolet
19. Darrell Wallace Jr., STP Chevrolet
20. William Byron, Liberty University Chevrolet
21. Chase Elliott, NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet
22. Chris Buescher, Bush's Beans Chevrolet
23. Daniel Suarez, ARRIS Toyota
24. Michael McDowell, A&W All American Food Ford
25. AJ Allmendinger, Kroger ClickList Chevrolet
26. Jamie McMurray, First Data Chevrolet
27. Trevor Bayne, AdvoCare Ford
28. David Ragan, MDS Transport Ford
29. Kasey Kahne, WRL General Contractors Chevrolet
30. Harrison Rhodes, Custom Aircraft Cabinets Chevrolet
31. Matt DiBenedetto, Can-Am/Wholey Ford
32. Ty Dillon, GEICO Chevrolet
33. Ross Chastain, ChampionMachinery.com Chevrolet
34. Gray Gaulding, Earthwater Toyota
35. Cole Whitt, TriStar Motorsports Chevrolet
36. Landon Cassill, SFRA.org/StarCom Fiber Chevrolet
37. D.J. Kennington, Gordon Brothers Toyota
38. JJ Yeley, Adirondack Tree Surgeons Chevrolet
Past 10 Winners at the Martinsville Speedway
(Year, Driver, Manufacturer)
2008, Denny Hamlin, Toyota
2009, Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet
2010, Denny Hamlin, Toyota
2011, Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet
2012, Ryan Newman, Chevrolet
2013, Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet
2014, Kurt Busch, Chevrolet
2015, Denny Hamlin, Toyota
2016, Kyle Busch, Toyota
2017, Brad Keselowski, Ford
The first year the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series raced at Martinsville Speedway was 1949. Since 1950, the speedway has hosted two NASCAR race weekends per year. The past 10 winners above represent the first race of the year at the Martinsville Speedway.
So Many Storylines
As with any other NASCAR Cup series race, there are many storylines leading up to race day. Sure, Truex Jr., who won the last week’s race at the Auto Club Speedway, sits on his third consecutive Cup pole this season. Of course, Kyle Busch seems ready for a breakthrough with three top-5s and four top-10s in five races since the start of the 2018 season. Let’s not forget that Busch has also won one of two races held yearly at Martinsville Speedway in 2016 and 2017. Then there is his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Denny Hamlin, who has won an impressive seven times at the half-mile track including three back-to-back victories. And yes, Darrell “Bubba” Wallace is driving the No. 43 STP Chevy Camaro ZL1 he designed with a paint scheme made famous by his team owner, Richard Petty. All these stories are great; however, heading into Martinsville there is only one story that most fans want to know the ending to—when, better yet, will Jimmie Johnson add another page to the history books and recover from this season’s shaky start by winning at Martinsville?
Hail “The King” and Prince
There is only one king of Martinsville, and that is Richard “The King” Petty. Petty dominated at the Virginia track during his heyday, amassing a total of 15 wins at the half-mile course. Between 1967 and 1973, Petty won 10 times at one of NASCAR’s oldest and certainly most thrilling speedways. The seven-time Cup champion mastered the shortest track on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series circuit and Jimmie Johnson has clearly taken notes on how he did it. While Darrel Waltrip has the second most wins at Martinsville with eleven, Johnson is not too far behind with nine.
If Johnson can win at the old-style track, one of NASCAR’s original venues, it’ll put an end to his season-long dry spell that can also be traced back to last year. Jimmie Johnson’s most recent victory at Martinsville was in 2016 and prior to that, his last win at the speedway was in 2013. A win on Monday would put Johnson in an elite class, making him the third driver in Cup history with ten or more wins at multiple tracks. NASCAR Hall of Famers Darrell Waltrip and Richard Petty are the only other drivers with ten or more wins at multiple tracks.
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