Sprint Cup squads go testing at Martinsville Speedway

Leave a comment

Multiple teams are continuing a two-day test session this afternoon at Martinsville Speedway, which will play host to the seventh race of the 2013 Chase for the Sprint Cup – the Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 – on Oct. 27.

Among those testing on NASCAR’s shortest track are the entire stables of Roush Fenway Racing (Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.), Richard Childress Racing (Kansas winner Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton, and Paul Menard) and Penske Racing (Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski), as well as Furniture Row Racing’s Kurt Busch, Front Row Motorsports’ David Ragan, and Earnhardt Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson.

The test is obviously important for everyone involved, but Larson may well be the one that needs it the most. The 21-year-old phenom, who is slated to make his first Sprint Cup start this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway for Phoenix Racing, said in a track press release that his main objective was being able to get out of Martinsville’s tight corners with a good head of steam.

“We’re mainly working on getting through the center [of the turns] and getting good drive off,” Larson said on Tuesday at Martinsville, a track he hadn’t even seen before the test session. “I’ve never been to a track with the long straights and tight corners like this.

“We’ve got pretty good on the long runs. We’re not the fastest, but not the slowest either. We’ve got to get a little better, but I think we’ll be OK for race weekend.”

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

Getty Images
Leave a comment

We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.