TOP FIVE DRIVERS

STP 500 from MARTINSVILLE

Since Rusty Wallace won the spring race here in 2004 only eight drivers have won at this track. That’s 21 races & only eight different winners and 15 of those motors came from one place Hendrick Motorsports.

My #5 driver is trying to break into that group of winners, #22 Joey Logano. Joey is #2 hottest coming out of California. He has 12 starts, no wins and just three Top 5 finishes. While he has never won here, he did finish 4th here last year in this race and 5th in the fall.

My #4 pick is tied with Jimmie Johnson for career wins here, #24 Jeff Gordon. Jeff has 44 starts, eight wins and 28 Top 5’s. 14 of his last 20 stops here were Top 5 finishes, giving him a #1 highest-average finish. His last win here was the autumn race of 2013. This IS Jeff’s best opportunity to make the Chase in 2015 with a win. Jeff should qualify well and stay upfront.

 

The #3 pick has struggled here at Martinsville, #20 Matt Kenseth. Matt has 30 starts here and only four Top 5’s, but his last Top 5 came in the autumn race of 2013. So why put him in my Top 5? Because Matt is only getting better here and last year he had two 6th place finishes. He rated #3 on the short tracks.

 

The #2 pick is the most recent winner here at Martinsville, #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. has twelve Top 5’s in 30 starts and a win in the Chase last year.  He is currently #5 in points and ranked #6 hottest over the last six races. His team Hendrick Motorsports has 11 wins in the last ten years here.

 

My #1 driver to watch is yet another member of Team Hendrick, #48 Jimmie Johnson.  Jimmie has 26 starts, eight wins, and an incredible 18 Top 5’s. Every race but four was a Top 10 finish. His last Martinsville win came in this race two years ago helping to give him the #2 highest-average finish here.

Monday look for our preview of the Duck Commander 500 from Texas.

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TOP 30 DRIVERS

TOP 30 POWER RANKINGS

STP 500-MARTINSVILLE

  1. JIMMIE JOHNSON #48
  2. DALE EARNHARDT JR #88
  3. MATT KENSETH #20
  4. JEFF GORDON #24
  5. JOEY LOGANO #22
  6. CLINT BOWYER #15
  7. BRAD KESELOWSKI #2
  8. RYAN NEWMAN #31
  9. KEVIN HARVICK #4
  10. A.J. ALLMENDINGER #47
  11. ARIC ALMIROLA #43
  12. PAUL MENARD #27
  13. DENNY HAMLIN #11
  14. GREG BIFFLE #16
  15. CARL EDWARDS #99
  16. AUSTIN DILLION #3
  17. JAMIE MCMURRAY #1
  18. KASEY KAHNE #5
  19. MARTIN TRUEX #78
  20. TONY STEWART #14
  21. KURT BUSCH #41
  22. CASEY MEARS #13
  23. JUSTIN ALLGAIER #51
  24. DANICA PATRICK #10
  25. DAVID RAGAN #34
  26. KYLE LARSON #42
  27. RICKY STENHOUSE #17
  28. DAVID GILLILAND #38
  29. SAM HORNISH #9
  30. LANDON CASSILL #40

Above the Top 30 drivers for Martinsville Speedway, Friday we break down the Top 5 drivers to watch.

TOP TEN TEAMS

TOP 10 TEAMS POST CALIFORNIA

  1. TEAM PENSKE
  2. HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS
  3. RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING
  4. STEWART HAAS RACING
  5. JOE GIBBS RACING
  1. FURNITURE ROW RACING
  2. GERMAIN RACING
  3. JTG RACING
  4. CHIP GANASSI RACING
  5. RICHARD PETTY MOTORSPORTS

Team Penske with the win in California stay at #1. Hendrick Motorsports stay at #2. Richard Childress Racing and Stewart Haas Racing swap places. Joe Gibbs Racing remain in the #5 slot. Furniture Row Racing off to a hot start stay in the #6 place. Germain Racing and JTG Racing trade positions. Chip Ganassi Racing stays at #9 and Richard Petty Motorsports stays at #10.

Thursday look for out Top 30 drivers at Martinsville Speedway.

TOP TEN DRIVERS by TRACK TYPE

TOP 10: SHORT TRACK

  1. CLINT BOWYER #15
  2. JEFF GORDON #24
  3. MATT KENSETH #20
  4. DALE EARNHARDT JR. #88
  5. BRAD KESELOWSKI #2
  6. JOEY LOGANO #22
  7. JIMMIE JOHNSON #48
  8. GREG BIFFLE #16
  9. RYAN NEWMAN #31
  10. PAUL MENARD #27

Top 10 drivers on Short tracks, Wednesday look for our Top 10 for Sunday’s STP 500 from Martinsville Speedway.

RACE PREVIEW

mr 15.1

STP 500

MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY

MARCH 29th, 1 PM CHARLOTTE TIME FOX TV

.5 MILES 12 DEGREES of BANKING

Spring short track race #1. Like Bristol Motor Speedway this is a half-mile track, but that is where the similarities end. This track has less banking on the turns than Bristol has in the front stretch. Flat and shaped like a paper clip, we’ll see the less seasoned drivers start to lose their brakes about three fourths of the way through the race. We’ll also see patience in short supply; and with tempers boiling over from California, this race could be a powder keg. More short tempers, more chrome horns, and more wrecked sheet metal are about the only things you can bank on at the short track that lacks serious banking. In the last ten years the Hendrick guys have won 11 of 20 races. Jeff Gordon and his teammate Jimmie Johnson have won here eight times each. The Hendrick motor shop has 14 wins in the last 20 races. They have won the last seven straight races. The Hendrick Motorsports dominance helps give Chevrolet 16 wins in the last 20 races! Will Hendrick Motorsports domination continue? We’ll find out Sunday.

Tuesday look for the Top 10 drivers on short tracks.

TOP FIVE DRIVERS

CALIFORNIA Auto Club 400

My #5 driver only has one start here, #42 Kyle Larson. Kyle is very excited to get here where he finished 2nd in his only start. Kyle has not had the start to the season he had hoped for, he is 17th in points. But he did have a Top 10 finish in Phoenix.

 

My #4 driver to watch has the highest average finish here, #48 Jimmie Johnson. Jimmie has 20 starts with five wins and 12 Top 5’s. His last win at this track was in 2010. His last 14 races were all Top 15’s except for last year when he finished 24th but keep in mind, nine of those were 3rd place or better. Jimmie’s team, Hendrick Motorsports, has nine wins in the 26 races run so far at California – the most of any owner.

 

My #3 pick is sitting #6 in points right now, #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Dale has 21 starts, no wins and five Top 5 finishes. Dale finished Top 3 twice in the last three years. Jr. is happy to be in a Chevy here, where five of the last seven winners wore the bow tie.

 

The #2 driver is very consistent here, #20 Matt Kenseth. Matt is my #1 rated downforce driver. Here Matt has 22 starts, three wins and nine Top 5’s. Toyota makes all their motors in nearby Costa Mesa, making this their home track so look for big things from him in SoCal. He finished 4th here last year helping him to his #3 rank in average finish.

 

The #1 pick won here four years ago, #4 Kevin Harvick. Kevin used to struggle here, but lately has found the winning formula. Kevin has 21 starts, one win and four Top 5’s. He knows how to get it done here and is red hot, he has won four of the last six races. He is ranked #1 hottest over the last six races.

 

 

Monday we’ll preview the STP 500 from Martinsville Speedway.

TOP 30 DRIVERS

TOP 30 POWER RANKINGS:

AUTO CLUB 400

  1. KEVIN HARVICK #4
  2. MATT KENSETH #20
  3. DALE EARNHARDT JR #88
  4. JIMMIE JOHNSON #48
  5. KYLE LARSON #42
  6. RYAN NEWMAN #31
  7. CARL EDWARDS #19
  8. PAUL MENARD #27
  9. MARTIN TRUEX #78
  10. KURT BUSCH #41
  11. KASEY KAHNE #5
  12. A.J. ALLMENDINGER #47
  13. JOEY LOGANO #22
  14. BRAD KESELOWSKI #2
  15. JEFF GORDON #24
  16. GREG BIFFLE #16
  17. CLINT BOWYER #15
  18. AUSTIN DILLON #3
  19. DENNY HAMLIN #11
  20. JAMIE MCMURRAY #1
  21. TONY STEWART #14
  22. BRIAN VICKERS#55
  23. CASEY MEARS #13
  24. DANICA PATRICK #10
  25. ARIC ALMIROLA #43
  26. SAM HORNISH #9
  27. DAVID RAGAN #18
  28. RICKY STENHOUSE #17
  29. COLE WHITT #35
  30. MICHAEL ANNETT #46

Friday we break down the Top 5 drivers in Sunday’s Auto Club 400.