MARTINSVILLE, VA – It should come to no surprise at all, but Sunday’s Goody’s Fast Relief 500 (12:30 p.m. ET/NBCSN/MRN) should come down to a battle in the end between Joe Gibbs Racing and Hendrick Motorsports. Rightfully so though, as JGR or Hendrick drivers have won the last four consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at the Martinsville Speedway including seven of the last eight and 16 of the last 20 dating back to 2006.
But, three of the four drivers to have won in the other four races over the last decade at the paperclip Virginia short track were with Stewart-Haas Racing (Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch) meaning if you factor in alliances (SHR/Furniture Row Racing), than JGR/Hendrick cars or affiliated cars have won 19 of the last 20 Martinsville races and 10 straight.
The lone driver outside of the JGR/Hendrick camp to win at Martinsville since 2006 was Kevin Harvick with Richard Childress Racing in April of 2011.
So far this weekend, it’s shaping up to be another intense battle between the two teams at Martinsville. In qualifying, three of the four Hendrick cars as well as three of the four JGR cars qualified in the top 10 for this weekend’s race. Factor in Stewart (SHR) and pole sitter Martin Truex Jr. (FRR) and you have eight of the 10 top 10 starters for Sunday’s race being under the JGR/Hendrick umbrella.
Add to the fact that these drivers excelled during practice and you can see why this could be a Hendrick vs. Gibbs battle for the win tomorrow.