NASCAR at Martinsville 2014: Schedule, Live Stream Info and Drivers to Watch

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NASCAR at Martinsville 2014: Schedule, Live Stream Info and Drivers to Watch
WADE PAYNE

Hendrick Motorsports is king at Martinsville, but if the qualifying order is any indication, Joe Gibbs Racing and a host of others have something to say about the 2014 STP 500.

In what is annually one of the season's most thrilling NASCAR events, thanks to a half-mile track much different from most, plenty of the sport's biggest names will look to get a leg up in the standings courtesy of a careful navigation of the track's 500 laps.

Few names have broken through past Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson to claim the checkered flag, but there are contenders who qualified well and have what it takes to make history at Martinsville.

Here is a look at the schedule, order and drivers to watch—outside of the kings of Martinsville, Gordon and Johnson.

 

Where: Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Va.

When: Sunday, March 30 at 1 p.m. ET

Watch: Fox

Live Steam: Fox Sports Go

Radio: Motor Racing Network

 

STP 500 Qualifying Order
Position Driver Number Best Speed (mph)
1 Kyle Buch 18 99.674
2 Denny Hamlin 11 99.548
3 Joey Logano 22 99.428
4 Jimmie Johnson 48 99.178
5 Jeff Gordon 24 99.048
6 Matt Kenseth 20 99.048
7 Tony Stewart 14 98.883
8 Carl Edwards 99 98.846
9 Jamie McMurray 1 98.625
10 Danica Patrick 10 98.165
11 Greg Biffle 16 97.764
12 Clint Bowyer 15 97.382
13 Brian Vickers 55 98.965
14 Brad Keselowski 2 98.929
15 A.J. Allmendinger 47 98.888
16 Ryan Newman 31 98.877
17 Marcos Ambrose 9 98.712
18 Kevin Harvick 4 98.707
19 Alex Bowman 23 98.661
20 Aric Almirola 43 98.625
21 Paul Menard 27 98.610
22 Kurt Busch 41 98.610
23 Casey Mears 13 98.599
24 David Ragan 34 98.599
25 Justin Allgaier 51 98.430
26 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 88 98.379
27 Kasey Kahne 5 98.359
28 Kyle Larson 42 98.333
29 Travis Kvapil 32 98.246
30 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 17 98.206
31 Martin Truex Jr. 78 98.200
32 Michael McDowell 95 98.002
33 Josh Wise 98 97.957
34 Austin Dillon 3 97.886
35 Cole Whitt 26 97.820
36 Landon Cassill 40 97.759
37 David Stremme 33 97.684
38 Ryan Truex 83 97.598
39 David Gilliand 38 97.458
40 Michael Annett 7 97.217
41 Parker Kligerman 30 97.078
42 Reed Sorenson 36 97.053
43 Joe Nemechek 66 96.332

NASCAR

 

Drivers to Watch

Tony Stewart

Ross D. Franklin

While a big name, not many have penciled in Tony Stewart as one who can breeze past the obvious favorites on Sunday.

But Stewart has plenty of history at the paper clip-esque course. In his rookie year back in 1999, he stole the show for his first Sprint Cup pole. He won the pole in 2000 as well, and has a recent victory in Martinsville in 2011.

Now coming off top-five finishes in consecutive weeks, Stewart told the media why he is so excited to once again return to a comfort zone such as Martinsville, via Fox News:

One thing about Martinsville is there is no lack of excitement. I don’t care how flawlessly your day goes, you’re going to bump into somebody at some point, even on a perfect day. You put 43 cars on this half-mile track and it’s always going to be exciting. You will never have a race there where you don’t have some sort of drama during the day. I think every driver will say they will have some drama at some point. When you have 43 drivers with 43 dramatic moments, that’s a lot of action going on.

With history and current momentum on his side, don't be shocked if Stewart can successfully navigate the obstacle course in order to nab another grandfather clock.

 

Denny Hamlin

Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

Outside of a recent injury acting as motivation, Denny Hamlin has plenty of history at the paper clip that should put fans in his corner.

Hamlin has won four times at Martinsville, but most of the recent attention has focused on his injury, as illustrated by Jenna Fryer of the Associated Press:

After qualifying in second, it's safe to say Hamlin is back to form. He suggested as much to the media, via Fox Sports' Jared Turner:

It crushed me last week not being able to compete for the guys on the FedEx team. I definitely have extra motivation this weekend at Martinsville, a place that has been a pretty good track for our team over the years. ... I'm confident that we will be able to run up front and compete for the win this weekend. I’m feeling better and can't wait to get back in the car on Friday for practice.

It has been five races since Hamlin rattled off three wins in a row at Martinsville, but one has to think that given his current motivation he has a strong chance of winning the prestigious race yet again.

 

Kevin Harvick

Robert Laberge/Getty Images

Considered a long shot by most after qualifying 18th, Kevin Harvick has plenty of motivation to pull off a win on Sunday.

Harvick's house caught on fire back in November and was subsequently saved by the local fire department, so he is using Sunday's event as a way to honor the brave men and women, according to Jerry Bonkowski of Motor Sports Talk.

Dustin Long of Motor Racing Network even has a picture of the decal Harvick will race with:

A winner in 2011 and with plenty of momentum thanks to powerful cars so far this season, Harvick is not one to sleep on come Sunday.

 

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