RIDGEWAY, VA (Thursday, March 30, 2017) — Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway will be practically the opposite of every venue The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series has visited this season. The half-mile slightly banked oval could prove to be a great opportunity to change the face of the 2017 season. That’s good news for some of the teams who haven’t had the results they’ve hoped for so far.
Seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson is the most recent winner at Martinsville. Johnson and his Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 team have only one top-10 finish thus far in the new year – a ninth-place finish that came two races ago at Phoenix International Raceway.
Although the stat may be assisted by recent retirements, Johnson’s nine victories at the half-mile make him the active driver with the most wins there. Adding to his favorable Martinsville stats, Johnson boasts 19 top-five and 24 top-10 finishes, as well as an eighth-place average finish.
Hendrick Motorsports, as a whole, holds trophies to showcase a total of 24 wins at Martinsville. Johnson has led 2,838 laps there. A good run this Sunday could put him in a category with only four other drivers to led 3,00 laps at the short track. No active driver carries that distinction at any speedway.
While Johnson won the most recent event in Virginia, Kyle Busch is the defending winner of The STP 500. Although it was his only win at “the paper clip,” as Martinsville is referred to, it was a race in which Busch took his first victory of 2016 and led an amazing 352 of 500 laps. He did so on the heels of winning The Alpha Energy Solutions 250 for The Camping World Truck Series one day earlier.
Busch, like Johnson, looks to improve his season this weekend. So far he has only two top-10 and one top-five finish this year.
Johnson and Busch make up a total of 38 drivers entered so far.
Although Toyota has a relatively shorter history in NASCAR racing, Chevrolet tops the win column at Martinsville, compared to Ford’s 26 wins and six victories for Toyota.
The STP 500 is set for Sunday afternoon at 2PM Eastern. Live TV coverage is available on Fox Sports 1, with a radio broadcast on The Motor Racing Network and “Live from Pit Road” – which offers live updates from teams, driver representatives and major players, at Z3Sports.com.