On The Gas…On The Brakes From Martinsville

. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

Martinsville has been known to bring out a temper or two. Drivers have gotten a little hot under the collar after 500 miles around the half mile paper clip shaped race track, but this past weekend, Mother Nature intervened. For this STP 500, she may have helped cool the drivers off. Snow at a race track, well that’s never a good thing. A Monday race, well, one driver certainly liked it.

Who’s ready for an off weekend, and who is ready to pass on eggs for more racing?

On The Gas…

3: Ryan Blaney –  Martinsville has certainly given Blaney his fair share of problems, coming in to Monday’s race, Blaney had led a total of…well, none. He finished 8th last fall for his only run that didn’t start with “thirty” 145 laps led and came home third.

2: Kyle Busch – After this past weekend, Busch has 43 career Cup series wins and 43 2nd place finishes. Not a bad average, unless your Kyle. It’s no longer a problem of Kyle and his team beating themselves, they are just getting beat straight up. An off weekend may just be what the doctor ordered for the No. 18 team.

1: Martinsville Speedway &Clint Bowyer – For the first time, we have a tie. Clint Bowyer making his way back to victory lane may just be one of the best stories in the sport this season. Bowyer is a driver for the people. His personality reigns, He is defition of overcoming adversity, and he loves to have a good time. Plus he makes our lives easier. No shortage of quotes. Bowyer and his son Cash just made the weekend as they ran towards each other on the front stretch. A great win for 2018.

But, Bowyer doesn’t have that shot, or the rest of the field if Clay Campbell and Martinsville Speedway doesn’t do what can only described as a truly unbelievable job of getting that track ready. Several inches of snow cleared from the track and the garage, plus the grandstands. They were on top of it, and did it perfectly.

On The Brakes…

3: Hendrick Motorsports – Martinsville and Hendrick Motorsports have always gone together almost better than a hot dog and ketchup. So that begs the question, what has happened to HMS in 2018. Your not so “rookie” Alex Bowman in his first year in the 88 led the way for Hendrick with a 7th. His first top 10 at Martinsville in 5 starts. Chase Elliott who was expected to lead the way after last fall, but was 9th and Jimmie Johnson was a lap down in 15th. Trouble in paradise.

2: Darrell Wallace Jr. – High hopes for the rookie starting the season, but it’s been downhill since Daytona. Martinsville left the young driver 14 laps off the pace in a car sponsored by STP that has known their share of success, and they spent money on both the car and title sponsor of the event. The single car team needs a boost.

1: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. After the weekend in Virginia, Stenhouse may just want to forget that state even exists. The Roush-Fenway driver wrecked in practice, had issues in the race and had to wait all of that out through a blizzard. I guess the only good news was, his teammate was back there with him.

That’s a look at the good and the bad from the weekend that was in Martinsville. Now it’s off to enjoy some family fun and celebrate this Easter weekend. Next up for the Monster Energy Cup Series will be the fast Texas Motor Speedway. Enjoy the off week, it will be a while before we see another one.

 

 

 

Stephen Conley

If it races, I'll write about it, talk about it or shoot it with a camera.

I began pursuing a career in motorsports journalism immediately after attending college at Kent State University. I have hosted multiple Motorsports talk shows, worked in Country Music radio, and now i spend every day on the air in the morning with 1300 and 100.9 WMVO and in the afternoons watching the roadways around Central Ohio for 93.7 WQIO.

The excitement and the fans make everything I put out there worth while, it's been an exciting 15 years having covered everything from the Daytona 500 to the Rolex 24 and you can find me at pretty much any event run at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

What I like to bring is a look behind the scenes, a look at what and who makes the sport grow. From the guy that welds pieces back at the shop to the host in the tv booth.

Everyone has a story and I like to tell it. My main focus here at TPF is looking at the men and women behind the microphone and cameras.

My life long goal is to become a member of MRN or PRN Radio and bring the races to you. I hope that what I share now is enjoyable and gives you a unique look in to the world of motorsports.

See you at a track soon

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