Martinsville Speedway announced Wednesday that it will add an L-E-D lighting system to the historic half-mile oval for the 2017 season. Starting the day after the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 Sprint Cup Series race at the end of this month, installation of permanent lights will begin with a project the track is calling “Light Up Martinsville.” It will be the first major motor sports facility with L-E-D lights. Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell says he expects the project to be completed by the end of this year, adding that there are no plans to stage a night race in the near future. Campbell calls the lighting project an insurance policy to extend race days in the event of inclement weather … And in an effort to give fans more flexibility in purchasing their seats for the October 30th Goody’s Fast Relief 500, Martinsville Speedway has opened its ticket office on Saturdays with special hours running from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (local time). The late-season doubleheader on the Virginia half-mile will include the Camping World Truck Series and feature the opening race in the Round of Eight of the post-season Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The ticket office will also be open on Sunday, October 23rd, in advance of the fall race weekend – with discounted tickets available for children 12 and under.
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From the Sprint Cup Series’ shortest track, Martinsville Speedway, NASCAR now moves to one of its fastest ovals with this coming weekend’s Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. The preliminary entry list shows forty drivers led by defending race winner Jimmie Johnson and regular-season points leader Kevin Harvick. The four non-Charter drivers on the list are rookie Ryan Blaney, Cole Whitt, Josh Wise and Reed Sorenson.
Johnson leads all competitors with six victories on the mile-and-a-half Fort Worth oval including three in a row and five of the last seven. Carl Edwards is next in line with three wins … There’s competitive balance among NASCAR’s three participating manufacturers with each brand winning the track’s spring race once over the last three seasons: Chevrolet with Johnson last year, Ford with Joey Logano in 2014 and Toyota with Kyle Busch in 2013.X-FINITY Series teams also will be competing at T-M-S with Friday night’s O’Reilly Auto
X-FINITY Series teams also will be competing at T-M-S with Friday night’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 300. There are thirty-nine drivers on the preliminary entry led by defending race winner Erik Jones and points leader Daniel Suarez, teammates at Joe Gibbs Racing.
Next stop Martinsville Speedway for Sunday’s S-T-P 500, sixth race of the 2016 Sprint Cup Series and the first of the season on a short track. Martinsville was the venue for one of the most dramatic moments of 2015 as Matt Kenseth put the brakes on Joey Logano’s three-race post-season winning streak.
Kenseth drove into the back of race leader Logano less than fifty laps from the finish of the Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 on November 1st – sending Logano into the wall and to the garage for repairs as the Eliminator Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup began. Kenseth’s car was crippled from earlier contact with Brad Keselowski and he was running many laps down to Logano when they made contact, a retaliatory move on Kenseth’s part after the two had also gotten together two weeks earlier at Kansas Speedway.
Logano started from the pole and led 207 of the 454 laps that were run before Kenseth sent him into the wall and to the bottom of the Chase standings. Kenseth drew a two-race suspension for his actions. Logano had been one of the hottest drivers in the post-season but never recovered, failing to qualify for The Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway and finishing sixth in the final standings.
Defending Sprint Cup champion Kyle Busch will make the first of four scheduled Camping World Truck Series starts this season on Saturday afternoon in the Alpha Energy Solutions 250 at Martinsville Speedway. Busch’s last race in the Truck Series was last fall in New Hampshire, where he finished eleventh. His most recent start at Martinsville came in October 2011, when he ran second to Denny Hamlin – who was also driving a Busch-owned entry.
In addition to this coming Saturday’s race on the Virginia half-mile, Busch will drive the Number-18 Toyota in Charlotte on May 20th, Kentucky on July 7th and Bristol on August 17th personally won a Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway, Kyle Busch Motorsports has four victories there … two apiece for Hamlin and Darrell Wallace Junior.
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