Everything you need to know about the 2014 Chasers at Martinsville

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The Contender Round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup ended yesterda at NASCAR’s biggest track.

This coming weekend, the Eliminator Round begins at NASCAR’s shortest track.

The .526-mile Martinsville Speedway will serve as setting for the Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500, which kicks off the final set of three races that will determine the four championship combatants at Homestead-Miami Speedway next month.

With the start of the new round comes another reset for the eight remaining drivers in the Chase, this time to 4,000 points apiece. Again, what happened in the previous round no longer applies.

It’s all about Martinsville, then the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway, and at last, the 1-mile Phoenix International Speedway.

And a win by anyone among the “Eliminator Eight” over these next three weeks now means even more – a chance to become Sprint Cup champion in South Florida.

Courtesy of NASCAR’s public relations and statistics teams, here’s everything you need to know as the Chasers face what some folks call “The Paperclip”…

MARTINSVILLE-SPECIFIC STATISTICS

1 – Joey Logano (No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 106.6
2014 Rundown
· Five wins, 15 top fives, 20 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 11.5
· Led 20 races for 916 laps
Martinsville Speedway Outlook:
· Two top fives, three top 10s
· Average finish of 14.8 in 11 races
· Average Running Position of 16.0, 13th-best
· Driver Rating of 82.3, 14th-best

2 – Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Outback Steakhouse Chevrolet)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 109.7
2014 Rundown
· Three wins, 11 top fives, 17 top 10s; eight poles
· Average finish of 13.4
· Led 24 races for 1,817 laps
Martinsville Speedway Outlook:
· One win, three top fives, 12 top 10s
· Average finish of 15.8 in 26 races
· Average Running Position of 13.7, eighth-best
· Driver Rating of 93.2, eighth-best
· 956 Green Flag Passes, eighth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 91.163 mph, eighth-fastest
· 6,348 Laps in the Top 15 (66.6%), sixth-most
· 578 Quality Passes, sixth-most

3 – Ryan Newman (No. 31 Quicken Loans Chevrolet)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 85.1
2014 Rundown
· Three top fives, 14 top 10s
· Average finish of 13.3
· Led 7 races for 41 laps
Martinsville Speedway Outlook:
· One win, seven top fives, 11 top 10s; three poles
· Average finish of 15.5 in 25 races
· Average Running Position of 15.1, 10th-best
· Driver Rating of 86.9, 10th-best
· 1,008 Green Flag Passes, fifth-most
· 5,419 Laps in the Top 15 (56.8%), ninth-most
· 528 Quality Passes, ninth-most

4 – Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 90.0
2014 Rundown
· One win, six top fives, 14 top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 15.1
· Led 14 races for 218 laps
Martinsville Speedway Outlook:
· Four wins, nine top fives, 13 top 10s; three poles
· Average finish of 8.8 in 17 races
· Average Running Position of 9.0, third-best
· Driver Rating of 109.6, third-best
· 580 Fastest Laps Run, third-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 91.467 mph, third-fastest
· 7,007 Laps in the Top 15 (82.1%), fourth-most
· 609 Quality Passes, fifth-most

5 – Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Dollar General Toyota)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 91.6
2014 Rundown
· 12 top fives, 19 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 13.6
· Led 18 races for 468 laps
Martinsville Speedway Outlook:
· Four top fives, 10 top 10s
· Average finish of 15.0 in 29 races
· Average Running Position of 16.0, 12th-best
· Driver Rating of 84.2, 12th-best
· 173 Fastest Laps Run, 12th-most
· 1,023 Green Flag Passes, fourth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 91.042 mph, 11th-fastest

6 – Carl Edwards (No. 99 Ford Ecoboost Fusion Ford)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 81.7
2014 Rundown
· Two wins, seven top fives, 13 top 10s
· Average finish of 14.5
· Led 11 races for 135 laps
Martinsville Speedway Outlook:
· One top five, five top 10s
· Average finish of 15.7 in 20 races
· Average Running Position of 15.9, 11th-best
· Driver Rating of 81.4, 15th-best
· 1,036 Green Flag Passes, third-most
· 5,181 Laps in the Top 15 (54.3%), 11th-most
· 555 Quality Passes, eighth-most

7 – Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 108.4
2014 Rundown
· Four wins, 12 top fives, 20 top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 10.3
· Led 23 races for 743 laps
Martinsville Speedway Outlook:
· Eight wins, 27 top fives, 34 top 10s; seven poles
· Average finish of 7.0 in 43 races
· Average Running Position of 6.7, second-best
· Driver Rating of 119.0, second-best
· Series-high 1,034 Fastest Laps Run
· 933 Green Flag Passes, 11th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 91.684 mph, second-fastest
· 8,375 Laps in the Top 15 (87.8%), second-most
· Series-high 691 Quality Passes

8 – Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 104.3
2014 Rundown
· Six wins, 14 top fives, 17 top 10s; five poles
· Average finish of 12.9
· Led 26 races for 1,518 laps
Martinsville Speedway Outlook:
· One top five, five top 10s
· Average finish of 13.4 in nine races
· Average Running Position of 16.2, 14th-best
· Driver Rating of 84.5, 11th-best
· Average Green Flag Speed of 91.102 mph, 10th-fastest

9 – Kyle Busch (No. 18 M&M’s Halloween Toyota)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 90.0
2014 Rundown
· One win, eight top fives, 14 top 10s; three poles
· Average finish of 17.0
· Led 15 races for 453 laps
Martinsville Speedway Outlook:
· Eight top fives, nine top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 15.9 in 19 races
· Average Running Position of 13.3, seventh-best
· Driver Rating of 96.1, sixth-best
· 409 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most
· 952 Green Flag Passes, ninth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 91.342 mph, fifth-fastest
· 6,587 Laps in the Top 15 (69.1%), fifth-most
· 616 Quality Passes, fourth-most

10 – Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 99.2
2014 Rundown
· Three wins, 10 top fives, 18 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 14.7
· Led 16 races for 1,119 laps
Martinsville Speedway Outlook:
· Eight wins, 18 top fives, 22 top 10s; three poles
· Average finish of 5.2 in 25 races
· Series-best Average Running Position of 5.6
· Series-best Driver Rating of 124.8
· 1,010 Fastest Laps Run, second-most
· Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 91.737 mph
· Series-high 8,833 Laps in the Top 15 (92.6%)
· 680 Quality Passes, second-most

11 – Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 89.1
2014 Rundown
· One win, three top fives, 11 top 10s
· Average finish of 16.3
· Led 12 races for 218 laps
Martinsville Speedway Outlook:
· Three top fives, four top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 20.2 in 21 races
· Average Running Position of 20.4, 20th-best
· Driver Rating of 77.7, 19th-best
· 255 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-most

12 – AJ Allmendinger (No. 47 Clorox Chevrolet)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 70.2
2014 Rundown
· One win, two top fives, four top 10s
· Average finish of 20.2
· Led 5 races for 68 laps
Martinsville Speedway Outlook:
· One top five, two top 10s
· Average finish of 20.6 in 12 races
· Average Running Position of 21.3, 23rd-best
· Driver Rating of 70.8, 22nd-best

13 – Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 96.6
2014 Rundown
· Three wins, 11 top fives, 17 top 10s
· Average finish of 12.8
· Led 15 races for 300 laps
Martinsville Speedway Outlook:
· 11 top fives, 16 top 10s
· Average finish of 12.8 in 29 races
· Average Running Position of 10.8, fourth-best
· Driver Rating of 99.9, fourth-best
· 471 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most
· Series-high 1,111 Green Flag Passes
· Average Green Flag Speed of 91.374 mph, fourth-fastest
· 7,393 Laps in the Top 15 (77.5%), third-most
· 668 Quality Passes, third-most

14 – Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M Ford)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 78.6
2014 Rundown
· Three top fives, 10 top 10s
· Average finish of 16.1
· Led 7 races for 110 laps
Martinsville Speedway Outlook:
· Five top 10s
· Average finish of 20.1 in 23 races
· Average Running Position of 20.6, 21st-best
· Driver Rating of 70.5, 23rd-best
· 1,068 Green Flag Passes, second-most

15 – Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 86.5
2014 Rundown
· One win, six top fives, nine top 10s
· Average finish of 19.4
· Led 12 races for 183 laps
Martinsville Speedway Outlook:
· Two wins, three top fives, five top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 20.8 in 28 races
· Average Running Position of 18.2, 18th-best
· Driver Rating of 79.0, 18th-best
· 987 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most

16 – Aric Almirola (No. 43 Smithfield Ford)
· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 72.4
2014 Rundown
· One win, two top fives, seven top 10s
· Average finish of 21.6
· Led 5 races for 23 laps
Martinsville Speedway Outlook:
· One top five, three top 10s
· Average finish of 24.0 in 11 races
· Average Running Position of 23.9, 30th-best
· Driver Rating of 64.8, 27th-best

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Martinsville Speedway Track Data
Race 33 of 36
0.526-mile oval
Banking, turns – 12 degrees
Banking, straights – Zero degrees
Frontstretch/backstretch length – 800 feet
500 laps, 263 miles

Top 10 Driver Ratings at Martinsville
Jimmie Johnson, 124.8
Jeff Gordon, 119.0
Denny Hamlin, 109.6
Dale Earnhardt Jr., 99.9
Tony Stewart, 97.0
Kyle Busch, 96.1
Clint Bowyer, 94.6
Kevin Harvick, 93.2
Ryan Newman, 86.9
Brad Keselowski, 84.5
*Ratings compiled from 2005-2014 races (19 total) among active drivers at Martinsville

Qualifying/Race Data
2013 pole winner: Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 99.595 mph, 19.013 seconds, 10.25.2013
2013 race winner: Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 70.337 mph (3 hours, 44 minutes, 21 seconds), 10.27.2013
Track qualifying record: Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 99.595 mph, 19.013 seconds, 10.25.2013
Track race record: Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 82.223 mph (3 hours, 11 minutes, 55 seconds), 09.22.1996

Martinsville Speedway History

· Opened in September 1947 by H. Clay Earles, Martinsville, originally a dirt track, is one of the oldest continuously-operating race tracks in the United States.

· The first NASCAR-sanctioned race at Martinsville was on July 4, 1948.

· The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was Sept. 25, 1949.

· The track was paved in 1955.

· The first 500-lap event at Martinsville was in 1956.

· Concrete corners were added atop asphalt in 1976.

Martinsville Speedway Notebook

· There have been 131 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Martinsville Speedway, one in the inaugural year and two races per year since 1950.

· 599 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville; 376 in more than one.

· NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty has the all-time most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Martinsville with 67 starts; Jeff Gordon has the most among active drivers with 43.

· Curtis Turner won the inaugural Coors Light pole at Martinsville Speedway in 1949.

· 58 drivers have Coors Light poles at Martinsville, led by NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip with eight; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with seven.

· 12 drivers have won two or more consecutive Coors Light poles at Martinsville Speedway. Four of the 12 have won three consecutive poles at Martinsville: Glen Wood (Fall of 1959 and 1960 sweep); Darrell Waltrip (1979 sweep and spring 1980); Mark Martin (fall of 1990 and 1991 sweep); Jeff Gordon (2003 sweep and spring 2004).

· Youngest Martinsville pole winner: Ricky Rudd (4/26/1981 – 24 years, 7 months, 14 days).

· Oldest Martinsville pole winner: Morgan Shepherd (4/26/1987 – 45 years, 6 months, 14 days).

· 47 different drivers have won at Martinsville Speedway, led by Richard Petty with 15; Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon lead the series among active drivers with eight wins each.

· 24 drivers have multiple wins at Martinsville Speedway only five active drivers have multiple wins: Jimmie Johnson (eight), Jeff Gordon (eight), Denny Hamlin (four), Tony Stewart (three) and Kurt Busch (two).

· Hendrick Motorsports leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in wins at Martinsville Speedway with 21.

· 21 of 131 races (16.0%) at Martinsville Speedway have been won from the Coors Light pole; seven of those 21 wins came from active drivers: Tony Stewart (2000), Jeff Gordon (2003 twice), Jimmie Johnson (2008, 2012, spring 2013) and Denny Hamlin (2010).

· The Coors Light pole is the most proficient starting spot in the field at Martinsville producing more wins (21) than any other starting position.

· 36 of the 131 (27.4%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Martinsville Speedway have been won from the front row: 21 from the pole and 15 from second-place.

· 95 of the 131 (72.5%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Martinsville Speedway have been won from a top-10 starting position.

· Six of the 131 (4.5%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Martinsville Speedway have been won from a starting position outside the top 20.

· The deepest in the field that a race winner has started was 36th, by Kurt Busch in the fall of 2002.

· Youngest Martinsville winner: Richard Petty (04/10/1960 – 22 years, 9 months, 8 days).

· Oldest Martinsville winner: Harry Gant (09/22/1991 – 51 years, 8 months, 12 days).

· NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt leads the series in runner-up finishes at Martinsville Speedway with seven; Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson lead all active drivers with four each.

· Richard Petty leads the series in top-five finishes at Martinsville Speedway with 30; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 27, followed by Jimmie Johnson with 18.

· Richard Petty leads the series in top-10 finishes at Martinsville Speedway with 37; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 34, followed by Jimmie Johnson with 22.

· Jeff Gordon leads active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average starting position at Martinsville Speedway with a 7.186. Ryan Newman (9.680) and Denny Hamlin (9.765) are the only two other active drivers with an average starting position at Martinsville inside the top-10.

· Three active drivers have a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series average finish in the top-10 at Martinsville: Jimmie Johnson (5.200), Jeff Gordon (6.953) and Denny Hamlin (8.765).

· There have been five NSCS green-white-checkered finishes at Martinsville Speedway: fall 2007 (500/506), fall 2008 (500/504), fall 2009 (500/501), spring 2010 (500/508), and spring 2012 (500/515).

· Qualifying has been cancelled due to weather conditions eight times in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Martinsville Speedway; the most recent was the fall race of 2011.

· Jeff Gordon has participated in the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Martinsville Speedway without a DNF (43).

· Tony Stewart (4/18/1999) and Scott Riggs (4/10/2005) won their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light poles at Martinsville Speedway.

· Mike Bliss (09/27/1998), Travis Kvapil (10/24/2004), Michael McDowell (3/30/2008) and Scott Speed (10/19/2008) made their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career starts at Martinsville Speedway.

· 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers have posted consecutive wins at Martinsville Speedway. Fred Lorenzen won four NSCS races straight (the most) from the fall of 1963 through the spring of 1965.

· All eight active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers who have won at Martinsville Speedway participated in at least two or more races before visiting Victory Lane. Tony Stewart won at Martinsville with the fewest previous appearances (three).

· Ryan Newman competed at Martinsville Speedway 20 times before winning in the spring of 2012; the longest span of any the eight active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winners.

· Four drivers have made eight or more attempts before their first win at Martinsville Speedway: Kevin Harvick (19) and Ryan Newman (20).

· Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Martinsville Speedway is the 4/1/2007 race won by Jimmie Johnson with a MOV of 0.065 second.

· Danica Patrick is the only female driver to compete at Martinsville Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

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· Seven car numbers have produced five or more Martinsville Speedway NSCS wins:

Car Number – Drivers – (Years)

o No. 43 – Richard Petty (1960, ’62, ’63, ’67 sweep, ’68, ’69 sweep, ’70, ’71, ’72 sweep, ’73, ’75 and ’79); John Andretti (1999)

o No. 11 – Cale Yarborough (1974, ’76, ’77 sweep, ‘78); Darrell Waltrip (1981, ’82, ’83, ’84); Geoff Bodine (1990 sweep); Denny Hamlin (2008, ’09, ’10 sweep)

o No. 28 – Fred Lorenzen (1961, ’63, ’64 sweep, ‘65 and ‘66); Buddy Baker (1979); Ernie Irvan (1993).

o No. 2 – Dale Earnhardt (1980); Rusty Wallace (1993, ‘94 sweep, ’95, ’96 and ‘04)

o No. 48 – Jimmie Johnson (2004, ’06, ’07 sweep, ’08, ’09, ’12, ‘13)

o No. 24 – Jeff Gordon (1996, ’97, ’99, ’03 sweep and ’05 sweep, fall 2013)

o No. 3 – Ricky Rudd (1983); Dale Earnhardt (1985, ’87, ’88, ’91, ’95)

NASCAR in Virginia

· There have been 285 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races among nine tracks in Virginia.

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· 172 drivers in NASCAR national series history have their home state recorded as Virginia.

· 19 drivers from Virginia have won at least one race in NASCAR’s three national series. 11 of the 19 Virginia native NASCAR winners have won in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

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Michelin appoints new North American motorsports director

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Michelin North America has named Tony Ménard as director of motorsports, effective Jan. 1, 2020.

Ménard is succeeding Chris Baker, who has held the role for the past eight years. Baker is scheduled to retire in March of 2020, ending a lengthy career that began with Michelin in 1982.

“Chris has played a vital role in the growth and success of our motorsports program, both for BFGoodrich and Michelin in North America,” said Matthieu Bonardel, global director for Michelin Group’s motorsports business entity. “His passion and understanding for motorsport fueled growth in the organization and established credibility in the market. Chris’s leadership propelled the Group, which experienced tremendous success with race wins, and advanced the way the brands leveraged our motorsports participation to benefit the overall business.”

A native of Le Mans, France, Ménard has served in several positions during his 30-year career with Michelin, most recently serving global business leader for Michelin brand in the passenger-vehicle category. Ménard has worked closely with the North American motorsports team since early July in preparation for the transition.

Baker oversaw the development of the motorsports function for Michelin and BFGoodrich Tires brands as a single business unit in North America. He also directed the expansion of Michelin’s involvement in IMSA sports-car racing as the “Official Tire of IMSA” and BFGoodrich Tires partnership with SCORE International Racing as the “Official Tire of SCORE.”

During Baker’s tenure, BFGoodrich achieved an unprecedented 650 off-road class wins, including five overall victories in the Baja 1000. The brand also demonstrated performance in the Battery Tender Global Mazda MX5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires, Lucas Oil Off Road Racing, Ultra4 King of Hammers, and provided strong support of grass roots racing across North America with the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), National Auto Sport Association (NASA), and Super Production Challenge in Canada.

“I am incredibly grateful to Michelin for the opportunities and support throughout my career, and to all the folks that I have worked with and continue to work with,” Baker said. “I want to thank all the teams, partners, officials and fans who have made our relationships so successful and are essential to the brands’ successes. I look forward to witnessing the continued success of our motorsports programs under Tony’s leadership, as well as the contributions of the Michelin Motorsport North America staff and volunteers, who are completely dedicated and invested in representing our brands in competition.”