Crunching The Numbers: STP 500 at Martinsville

This weekend’s STP 500 is at Martinsville Speedway, the shortest track on the NASCAR circuit, and one of the most nail biting races the fans have the opportunity to watch. At only 0.526 miles in length, this oval short track, also know as the paper clip, always brings out the best (or worst) in the drivers. The race is scheduled 500 laps (263 miles), that is is a lot of time to ruffle some fenders.

  • Turns 1 – 4 banking: 12°
  • Frontstretch banking: 0°
    • 800 feet long
  • Backstretch banking: 0°
    • 800 feet long

Martinsville 1 Track Stats

*No race has ended under caution

Martinsville Speedway has been known to be very kind to a select group of drivers, and I think we all know who they are. With one of those drivers now attending the race via the Fox Broadcast Booth, could we see new players try to step up their short track game? Will tempers flair like they did last year? Before we go further, here is a quick recap of the finishes from the 2015 season.

hi-res-8af59f23c60d7b80f716a628a53c14c9_crop_north2015 STP 500 Top 5 – 3/29/15

Driver Finish Start
Denny Hamlin 1 15
Brad Keselowski 2 12
Joey Logano 3 1
Matt Kenseth 4 8
David Ragan 5 20

 

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Jeff Gordon captured his first win of 2015 at Martinsville in November, and also the last victory of his career.

2015 Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 – 11/1/15

Driver Finish Start
Jeff Gordon 1 5
Jamie McMurray 2 4
Denny Hamlin 3 10
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 4 22
Kyle Busch 5 6
Martin Truex Jr. 6 2

 

 

Past STP 500 Pole Sitters

Year Driver Team Finish
2004 Jeff Gordon Hendrick Motorsports 6
2005 Scott Riggs MBV Motorsports 21
2006 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports 3
2007 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing 3
2008 Jeff Gordon Hendrick Motorsports 2
2009 Jeff Gordon Hendrick Motorsports 4
2010 Kevin Harvick Richard Childress Racing 35
2011 Jamie McMurray Earnhardt Ganassi Racing 7
2012 Kasey Kahne Hendrick Motorsports 38
2013 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports 1
2014 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing 14
2015 Joey Logano Team Penske 3

With Jeff Gordon no longer in the picture, might we see something different happen this weekend? Only time will tell.

Past Good Sam 500 Winners:

  • The average race winner’s starting position is 11.5
    • Kurt Busch won in 2014 from starting P22, which is the furthest back a race winner has started
  • 8.33% of pole winners have gone on to win the race
    • Jimmie Johnson: 2013
  • 3.33% of the winners have come from starting in the top 5
  • 50% of the winners have come from starting in the top 10
  • Winning drivers have lead an average of 104.67 laps (20.93% of the scheduled 500 lap race)
    • Fewest laps led by race winner: Kevin Harvick led 6 laps (1.20% of the scheduled 500 lap race) in 2011
    • Most laps led by a race winner: Jimmie Johnson led 346 laps (69.20% of the race) in 2013
  • There have been 9 different race winners from 5 different teams since 2004
  • Pole winners have an average finish of 11.42
    • Average laps lead: 108.42 laps (21.68% of the scheduled 500 lap race)

Now for a quick look at where the Manufacturers and Team stack up this season as well as at Martinsville Speedway:

Martinsville 1 Manufacturers

Martinsville 1 Team Stats

It should be no surprise that Chevrolet is so dominate at Martinsville, no matter the time of year. Also, it should be no shock that Hendrick Motorsports is the best team at this short track, but Joe Gibbs Racing is not that far off. And this season, these 2 teams have been hot on each other’s spoilers, so we may see another HMS vs. JGR battle this weekend.

And without further ado, here are some predictions for the field!

Martinsville 1 Predictions

Do you notice a surprise in this list? Ryan Blaney perhaps? He may not have had the joys of racing at Martinsville Speedway yet in his career with the Cup drivers, but he has held his own on the short tracks. Further up the list, we do see our normal suspects. If you want a shorter look, here is the trends of the top drivers, plus additional drivers who have great average finishes at Martinsville.

Martinsville 1 Past Finishes

What we can see from this graph is that Matt Kenseth could spoil the Johnson/Hamlin party, and even Clint Bowyer could make some noise. What works against Bowyer is he is no longer in top tier equipment as he has been in the past, but that is offset by this track not being about speed. Johnson and Earnhardt Jr. had an off visit last March, but don’t let that bum finish throw you off, especially when talking about Jimmie Johnson.

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Ashley Hobbs

I was born on the 9th of March in a year which you need not know. I was born and raised in the great state of New Jersey, but I now reside in Florida. Here is a bit about myself:

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I hope you enjoy my segment, Crunching the Numbers, and getting insights into each weekend's NASCAR race!

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