Notes and help to watch Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway on TV and live stream.
Kyle Busch – An average finish of 3.8 over the last nine races he’s run at Martinsville is a series best. Busch has been red hot at the Virginia short track in recent outings with eight straight top-five finishes, which includes a pair of victories in 2016 and ’17. Busch was third in the spring Martinsville race.
Martin Truex Jr. – The 2017 champion has made Martinsville one of his better tracks after struggling there early in his career. Truex Jr. has finished in the top-five in three of the last four races at the track and came within the last turn of winning a year ago before contact with Joey Logano. Truex Jr. posted an eighth place finish in March.
Brad Keselowski – He dominated the spring Martinsville race to the tune of leading 446 laps on his way to Victory Lane. Keselowski was eliminated from the Playoff race last week at Kansas and now has just one goal on Sunday and that’s to win. He’s done that two times in the last seven Martinsville races and hasn’t finished outside the top-10 there since 2015.
Denny Hamlin – The Virginia native at one time owned Martinsville and won three races in a row during the 2009-10 seasons. While Hamlin has cooled off in recent outings, he may have the most laps around Martinsville than any other driver dating back to his late model days. Hamlin’s Kansas win last week was his fifth of the season.
Joey Logano – He was uncharacteristically off in the spring Martinsville race when he finished 19th. But Logano is the defending race winner after his controversial victory a year ago and has four top-10 finishes in the last six Martinsville races.
Kyle Larson – This will be Larson’s biggest challenge in the Round of 8 based on his past Martinsville performance. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver has an average finish of just 21.2 over the last ten races held at the track and a 14this his best effort in the last six races.
Alex Bowman – He’s been eliminated from the Playoff race and will now try to end the year on a positive note over the next four races. Martinsville has been a struggle for Bowman although he did have a seventh place finish at the track last season.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – His days with Roush Fenway Racing are winding down before Stenhouse Jr. joins JTG Daugherty Racing next year. He has not run well at all at Martinsville over the course of his RFR career with just a pair of top-10’s to his credit in the previous ten races at the track.
Erik Jones – While his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Busch, Truex Jr. and Hamlin have all figured out and enjoyed success at Martinsville that has not been the case for Jones. Statistically Martinsville has been one of Jones’ worst tracks since he graduated to the Cup series with a 12th in five career starts his best finish.
David Ragan – The veteran driver most likely won’t shed a tear for Martinsville when he hangs up his full-time driving duties at season’s end. Ragan hasn’t finished better than 18th at Martinsville dating back to 2015.
Kevin Harvick – The Stewart-Haas Racing driver has four straight top-10 finishes at Martinsville including back-to-back fifth place runs in 2017-’18.
Clint Bowyer – Throw out Bowyer’s 21st place performance in last year’s First Data 500 and the veteran has been pretty solid at Martinsville in recent outings. He has four top-10 runs in the last five races including a win in 2018 when he led 215 laps.
Chase Elliott – By his own admission Elliott has been “hit and miss” at Martinsville. However Elliott has four top-ten finishes in the last five races and nearly won two years ago until a controversial late race incident with Hamlin.
Ryan Blaney – Maybe Blaney’s name doesn’t leap out as a Martinsville favorite but he has been pretty strong of late. Three top-10’s in the last four races including running fourth in the spring race.
Daniel Suarez – A small sample size for the Stewart-Haas Racing driver with just five career starts but two straight top-10 finishes coming into Sunday’s race.
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