FYI WIRZ: NASCAR's Leaders Think Race 6 at Martinsville Is Like Returning Home

Dwight Drum@@racetakeCorrespondent IIIMarch 29, 2012

Kevin Harvick takes questions at Daytona before the start of the 2012 season
Kevin Harvick takes questions at Daytona before the start of the 2012 season

Almost all NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers raced a short track somewhere when they were young and dreamed of the big time. For them, going to a short-track race on the NSCS circuit is like connecting history to the present.

Martinsville Speedway is one of two half-mile NASCAR tracks, a 0.526-mile oval with 12-degree banking in Ridgeway, Virginia. The track, built in 1947, has been a part of NASCAR since its inception in 1949. Fans without tickets to the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 on Sunday, April 1 can check, and those at home can view the race at 12:30 p.m. ET on FOX.

The long NASCAR season is underway. Some of the productive teams that have risen to the top in points in five races are likely to be a part of the Chase for the Sprint Cup playoff.

Top teams take momentum into race six. Sometimes driver confidence takes verbal form, so it’s prudent for fans to browse their comments before the next checkered flag.

Greg Biffle, Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth, the top five in NASCAR Sprint Cup, had fast words for the short Martinsville track.

1. Greg Biffle (No. 16 Ford)

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“I’m looking forward to Martinsville,” Biffle said. “We have a brand new, super light, great car for this weekend. We’ve been working on brake packages and we feel like we have a great brake package. We’ve actually qualified well, for the most part, in the past at Martinsville. I’m really excited about Martinsville, but even more excited for the week off after.”

2. Kevin Harvick (No. 29 Chevrolet)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. takes questions at Daytona before the 2012 season.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. takes questions at Daytona before the 2012 season.

"I just like the short-tracks,” Harvick said. “I grew up, as a lot of us did, racing short tracks and Martinsville has always been a place I've enjoyed racing."

“Look back at the history of Martinsville and watch a lot of races and see a lot of things that have happened there. To be able to still race on that particular track today in virtually the same setting is cool for the sport and cool for the competitors to be able to do that year after year."

3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 Chevrolet)

“I look forward going to Martinsville,” Earnhardt said. “I always have a lot of fun there. I think everybody really enjoys running there. It's a pretty fun track. We've had some good success there. I'm hoping to have a good race like we did last year and maybe have an opportunity to try to be in the battle for the win.”

4. Tony Stewart (No. 14 Chevrolet)

“It’s still that old short-track feel,” Stewart said. “That’s what I like. We run a lot of 1.5-mile tracks during the year and it’s the only place that races like this. We’ve got two half-mile tracks that we race on. This one’s quite a bit different than Bristol, and that’s what makes it fun. You can out-brake guys and you can run the outside if you get a shot. It’s racing the way we all grew up racing.”

5. Matt Kenseth (No. 17 Ford)

“Martinsville is a challenging track because it’s easy to get caught up in things that are beyond your control and you need to make sure that you try and remain patient,” Kenseth said. “I never like getting run into or running into others during the race but most times, things like that happen at short tracks like Martinsville, I think that’s the most challenging aspect of racing there. There’s not a lot of room to maneuver for position since we don’t really have an outside groove as an option.”

NASCAR drivers enjoy being a part of history. It can be assumed adding their name to the win list at Martinsville Speedway is a top priority, especially this early in the season.

FYI WIRZ is the select presentation of topics by Dwight Drum at Unless otherwise noted, information and all quotes were obtained from personal interviews or official release materials provided by NASCAR and team representatives. Photo credit: Dwight Drum at