Steven B. Wilson
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Ragan on Martinsville
"I love Martinsville. It's one of my favorite tracks. Just the whole weekend there has a good vibe to it. I like the short track scene, I love the racing, I love the strategy on Sunday. As a driver, I feel like I can have some good input on how to make the car better. You don't have to worry as much about aerodynamics. At Martinsville, it's more mechanical. It's more stuff that I grew up doing to my late model car that I raced on short tracks throughout the years. I really enjoy that, and I think it's a track where Front Row Motorsports can have a really good day and get a top-10 or top-15 if we have a good racecar.
"I think generally the Friday-Saturday-Sunday events work really well for the fans, and the TV networks and even for the teams. But this weekend just being on track Saturday and Sunday, it gives us an extra day after the West Coast trip in preparing the car. And I think the race is still going to be great on Sunday, whether we had all day to practice on Friday or just on Saturday."
Ragan Martinsville Stats
23 starts, 1 top-5, 3 top-10s, 6 top-15s
Best finish: 5th
McDowell on Martinsville
"Martinsville is a great track for Front Row Motorsports -- a lot because David Ragan is very good there. He's got the program tuned in at Martinsville. So, I'm looking forward to it for that reason, to be able to learn a little bit off of him and his data. I've always managed the race well as far as brakes and long runs, but I've never qualified super stellar. So, hopefully I can pick that up and make the day a little bit easier. Normally if you start in the teens or 20s, you can have a pretty uneventful first half. When you qualify near the back, you have to work a lot harder.
"It's very physical at Martinsville. And very easy to make mistakes. The one nice thing about Martinsville is you get away with a few mistakes a race. Unlike Talladega or Daytona, where you just get it wrong by a few inches and cause a 'big one,' at Martinsville you just run in to somebody and knock the bumper in a little bit. But it's a grueling race for sure."
McDowell Martinsville Stats
14 starts, 2 top-20s
Best finish: 18th
Fresh off a two-week break for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS), Rookie of the Year candidate Justin Fontaine (@driverFontaine) and his Niece Motorsports team are focused on earning their third top-10 finish of the year in Saturday afternoon’s Alpha Energy Solutions 250 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
Fontaine, driver of the No. 45 ProMATIC Automation Inc. Chevrolet returns to the famed paperclip for the first time since 2016, where the Asheville, N.C. native made his Truck Series debut, earning a respectable 26th place finish.
Nearly two years later, 20-year-old Fontaine has raised the bar and is determined to bring his Niece Motorsports team another strong finish.
“The break was nice, but I’m ready to get back to work,” said Fontaine who will make his seventh career Truck Series start this weekend. “Everyone at Niece has worked diligently this season to make sure we come to the track with fast trucks. Martinsville is a tough place, but we’re optimistic about the first short track race of the year.”
Fontaine notes that Martinsville is a technical race track and he will have to rely on his crew chief Darrell Morrow and Niece Motorsports teammate Austin Wayne Self for support throughout the race weekend.
“Martinsville is such a momentum place,” added Fontaine. “You really need to be able to get the truck to maneuver through the corners, so you can carry the speed on the straightaways. Martinsville also portrays some road course characteristics, where the truck can easily wheel-hop and spin out.
“My crew chief Darrell and I have really gelled in the first couple races and I think that will only continue to get better as the season goes. Austin’s raced at Martinsville a couple more times than I have, so his advice can also be insightful.
“It’s important for us to work together to see if we can put two Niece Motorsports trucks inside the top-10 on Saturday.”
After three races, Fontaine sits 12th in the series’ standings.
In addition to being a full-time NASCAR driver, Fontaine is also a student at the University of North Carolina (Charlotte) where he is pursuing a business degree.
For more on Justin Fontaine, please visit JustinFontaine.com, like his Facebook page (Justin Fontaine) or follow him on Twitter @driverFontaine.
The Alpha Energy Solutions 250 (250 laps / 131.5 miles) is the fourth of 23 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races on the 2018 schedule. Practice begins on Fri., Mar. 23 from 11:05 a.m. – 11:55 a.m. A second practice will roll from 1:05 p.m. – 1:55 p.m. A final practice session is set for 3:05 p.m. – 3:55 p.m. Qualifying is set for race day, Sat., Mar. 24, beginning at 11:05 a.m. The 32-truck field will take the green flag shortly after 2:00 p.m. with live coverage on FOX Sports 1, the Motor Racing Network (Radio) and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Satellite Radio, Channel 90). All times are local (Eastern).
Justin Fontaine PR
NASCAR Xfinity Series regular Daniel Hemric is scheduled to make his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut on April 21, 2018 at Richmond Raceway with partner Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff on the No. 8 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, Richard Childress Racing announced today on FS1's "NASCAR Race Hub."
AJ Allmendinger, driver of the No. 47 Kroger ClickList Camaro ZL1, is coming to the Martinsville Kroger Friday, March 23, to help collect food for the hungry and meet fans.
In Martinsville to compete in the STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway, Allmendinger will participate in an event Friday afternoon to provide food for the Salvation Army of Martinsville to donate to hungry residents in the community.
He’ll visit with fans, sign autographs and pose for photographs with fans from 5:30-6:15 in Kroger at the Village of Martinsville on Commonwealth Blvd.
At 6:15pm, he’ll referee a five-minute shopping spree between two representatives of Feeding America Southwest Virginia, with Kroger donating all the food to the Salvation Army of Martinsville.
Allmendinger will emcee a contest between two Kroger associates to decide the faster bagger of the groceries.
“Martinsville is one of my favorite stops on the NASCAR circuit,” said Allmendinger. “We’ve had some great runs at the track, but I love the opportunity to support Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste efforts and, of course, visit fans.”
The Salvation Army has several food and nutrition programs that serve the Martinsville area and is a partner agency of Feeding America Southwest Virginia.
Kroger has embarked on an effort aimed at ending hunger and eliminating waste.
“No family in a community we serve should ever go hungry, and that’s why we’re donating food in the Martinsville community,” said Allison McGee, corporate affairs manager for Kroger’s Mid-Atlantic Division.
Live coverage of the STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway begins at 2:00pm on Sunday, March 25 on FS1 and SiriusXM Radio NASCAR Channel 90.
JTG Racing PR
With a top 5 and top 10 finish in his rear-view, Stewart Friesen looks to Martinsville for his first win in the NCWTS. Friesen’s experience on dirt short tracks doesn’t guarantee him success on pavement, but his explosive start to the 2018 NCWTS proves that he is a contender, and ready for a win. Currently sitting 6th in points, Friesen spent this short 2 week break in the NCWTS schedule racing his dirt modified at Georgetown Speedway and spending time with his family and Halmar Racing teammates.
In 2017, Friesen was fastest in practice at Martinsville, ahead of defending series champ, Johnny Sauter. Friesen’s relative success last year and his strong start in 2018, put him in a good position to get his first win in the NCWTS. At Vegas, Friesen spent most of the race up front, going head to head with Monster Energy Cup series champ Kyle Busch.
Asked about returning to the NCWTS after the short break, Friesen beamed, “After starting the year with good finishes at Atlanta and Las Vegas Speedways, I’m pumped up to get back to a short track. The HFR guys have been awesome the first 3 races of the year and the GMS fabrication shop has given us great Chevy Silverados.”
Richard Petty Motorsports Turns to Mack Anthem® to Haul the Legendary #43 Racecar Driven by Darrell ‘Bubba’ Wallace Jr.20 Mar 2018
Mack Trucks and Richard Petty Motorsports today announced an expansion of their partnership, under which a Mack Anthem® will haul the legendary number 43 racecar currently driven by Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr., one of the brightest young stars in NASCAR today. The expansion also makes it possible for Mack to offer customers even more unforgettable experiences at tracks around the country every weekend.
“It just had to be a Mack Anthem, a new American icon, hauling the number 43 car made famous by “The King” Richard Petty,” said John Walsh, Mack vice president of marketing. “Bubba Wallace has brought great new energy to the sport, and we’re looking forward to sharing that excitement with customers.”
Wallace came in second in the 2018 DAYTONA 500 in February, making NASCAR history with the best performance by an African-American driver. Wallace is the first full-time African-American NASCAR driver since the 1970s.
“Key to the success of any partnership like this is a genuine connection between the two brands,” Walsh said. “Both Mack and Richard Petty Motorsports are distinctly American, with strong pasts, ground-breaking presents and bright futures.”
Attendees of the 2018 Mid-America Trucking Show March 22–24 at the Kentucky Exposition Center, Louisville, Kentucky, will have the opportunity to meet Richard Petty in the Mack Trucks booth 34105 the morning of Thursday, March 22.
Mack Trucks PR
Magna Vista High School students had a special lecture from a visiting professor on Tuesday afternoon. Darrell ‘Bubba’ Wallace Jr. spoke in the auditorium just six miles from Martinsville Speedway, touching on topics from the Famous Martinsville Speedway Hot Dog to how to approach life after graduation day to what he hopes to accomplish in the STP 500 on Sunday.
He said afterwards his goal on Tuesday was to impart a little wisdom, while his goal on Sunday is simple – win.
“It was a lot of fun,” Wallace said. “I can remember when I was in high school, it was just a handful of years ago. I know what they’re going through. It’s always a good time being able to share my passion and share what I do for a living with them. I think they were able to enjoy it and I was able to enjoy it for sure.”
Wallace is no stranger to Martinsville Speedway, having claimed a pair of wins at the historic half-mile in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. He is also no stranger to some of the students on hand, some of whom he spoke to when they were students at Laurel Park Middle School.
He emphasized a few life lessons for the youngsters again on Tuesday.
“We were all in high school. The real world, it doesn’t wait up on you. It’s here as soon as you’re done with school. The biggest thing is you have to be prepped for that, you have to be ready for it,” Wallace said. “I wanted to focus on how to win at Martinsville but I also had to focus on passing my next math quiz too. The real world is a lot tougher than that. Kids need to realize that.”
Although being 24 and dealing with bills and taxes is “not fun” according to the driver of the No. 43 STP-sponsored Richard Petty Motorsports machine, he was happy with the inquisitive nature of the crowd on hand in Ridgeway.
“They seemed like a lively bunch,” Wallace said. “Great audience the whole time, great questions, it was a great visit.”
When asked about his success at Martinsville, especially in the Truck Series, he gave himself a quick pop quiz. A pop quiz that he knows the answers to, inside and out.
“I do the math every chance I get, second, first, first, fifth, I think that’s an average of 2.1 or maybe better. Not to toot my own horn but I love this place, obviously,” Wallace said. “It’s a place I fell in love with as soon as I got here…To be able to come back here three and a half years later in the Cup series is a homecoming for me. This is such a special weekend.”
As for that goal of getting a grandfather clock in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series on Sunday? Wallace knows the task ahead of him will be difficult, but he said he is ready to face it.
“I know how tall that task is, but I really want to show why I love this race track,” Wallace said. “I think that is going to shine through and be like ‘he’s pretty good here’. That’s what we’re hoping for.”
The current leader in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year points standings added that he isn’t afraid of a little physical racing.
“We’ve got a bumper for a reason. We may not have to use it, we may have to,” Wallace said. “You’re bumper-to-bumper from start to finish. You’re always on the move. There’s always close-quarters contact…There’s always action going on and that’s why it’s the best short-track we go to. I love it.”
The STP 500 weekend presented by whosyourdriver.org is March 23-25.
Advance ticket prices for the STP 500 begin at just $46 with youth tickets for fans 17-and-under costing just $25 regardless of location. Youth 17-and-under will be admitted free to the Alpha Energy Solutions 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race as well as Friday’s practice day.
The weekend starts with a practice day for the truck series on Friday, followed by the Hauler Parade.
On Saturday, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is in action with the Alpha Energy Solutions 250. Following the race the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will qualify for Sunday’s STP 500.
The STP 500 is the first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race on the East Coast, after the “West Coast Swing” and the first short-track race of the season. Last year, Brad Keselowski won the race, becoming the first driver to win in a Ford at Martinsville since 2002.
Tickets to both races are on sale and may be purchased by calling 877.RACE.TIX or online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.
Martinsville Speedway PR
Kurt Busch loves the West Coast. He loves the desert, the dry, hot weather and the motor racing facilities in Las Vegas, Phoenix and Fontana, California.
But, it’s time to look east, specifically toward Martinsville Speedway located in Southern Virginia, for Sunday’s Martinsville 500.
And what a history Martinsville has considering it opened for business in 1947, two years before NASCAR came to be. Every series champion including Busch has competed at the track, which has hosted Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series events twice a year since 1950.
Martinsville is the shortest track on the NASCAR schedule and, viewed from the air, its looks like a paperclip as its long straightaways lead into tight, flat turns. The racing there can be described as “give-and-take,” with drivers giving some bumps and taking some bumps as dozens of cars constantly fight for space in its tight confines.
So, no matter how good a driver’s car is, one does need a bit of luck to win at Martinsville. Several drivers have been leading late in the 500-lap race, only to be nudged out of the way in the closing laps. A good vehicle is needed, but also that stroke of luck.
Should Busch win this weekend, he’ll once again score one of the most unique and coveted trophies in NASCAR – the Ridgeway Furniture Company’s grandfather clock that’s given to race winners at Martinsville Speedway.
The tradition of giving the famous grandfather clock to the winner of every Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Martinsville got its start in 1964. Henry Clay Earles, who founded the short track, was inspired to use the grandfather clock as his trophy when Curtis Turner told him he had to start finding storage room for his trophies, and give some away, as well. It was then that NASCAR’s most iconic trophy was born.
Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), already has a pair of grandfather clocks for winning the fall Martinsville race in 2002 and the spring race in 2014 – the latter win for SHR. He also won the pole positon for the fall race in 2006.
Busch knows he will have a good Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion from crew chief Billy Scott this weekend. He’s also hoping for a stroke of luck, as well.
What: Leavine Family Racing is excited to host Camp 95 for the fourth year in a row. This camp is open to high school students who are interested in learning more about various careers in NASCAR, from engineering and building racecars to marketing and sponsorship roles.
Who: High school students (rising 9th-12th) will have a chance to explore and ask questions about different careers within the motorsports field.
Why: Camp 95 is designed to showcase the many different career areas not only in NASCAR, but all motorsports. Many kids dream of working in NASCAR but don’t know where to start or how to get involved. Camp 95 can help high school kids determine a potential career and education path.
When: Tuesday, July 10th – Wednesday, July 11th, 2018
Tentative Tuesday Schedule: 12pm – 5pm
Tentative Wednesday Schedule: 9am – 2pm
The application for Camp 95 will be available on LFR95.com from April 2- May 12, 2018. Late applications will not be accepted.
Where: Leavine Family Racing will host Camp 95 in their shop in Concord, NC.