FYI WIRZ: NASCAR's Top 3 at Martinsville Talk Before and After Flags

Dwight Drum@@racetakeCorrespondent IIIApril 3, 2011

Kevin Harvick waits for a practice run
Kevin Harvick waits for a practice run

The Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Va., concluded Sunday as the top three finishers braved the .526 mile oval that battered many qualifiers to get the checkered flag.  Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kyle Busch showed their short-track prowess to outlast the field of 40 that chased them. 

The race led often by Kyle Busch was nearly as exciting as the thriller in Fontana when Harvick got around Jimmie Johnson for that win.  Earnhardt nipped Busch at the start/finish line.  Harvick got around Earnhardt and now has two wins a row that is precious momentum early in the season.

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) will head into the seventh race of the season, April 9 at Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth Texas. 

The top five point leaders now in Sprint Cup are Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick.  

Points gained and lost mean more in 2011 as fewer are available with the new simpler 43 position point total for each race with a lean bonus of five points for winning and leading laps.  Only 48 points can be gained at any one Cup race.

FYI WIRZ is the select presentation of motorsports topics by Dwight Drum @ Racetake.com.  Quotes derived from team and sanction press releases.

Kevin Harvick [No. 29 Chevrolet] Finished first.

Before the green flag:
“This has been a fun race track for us,” Harvick said. “I think this is something that we all look forward to during the year just for the fact that we all grew up on racetracks like this and to kind of go back to your roots and be able to kind of beat and bang is something we don’t get to do every week so it’s a fun race track to come to and being so close to home for us it’s the only race that we can drive back and forth to and sleep in your own bed at night so that makes it pretty high on the list.”

After the checkered flag:
“Just an awesome day. I didn’t think we had the car to do that and just came back up through there.  We put those two tires on and I got to the front and all the sudden everything was woken up.  So I had a lot of fun racing with Dale Jr, and I hate to be the guy that is the bad guy here but we are in it to win it.

“I think it just shows what we are made of again today.  We just keep fighting.  We had something left to race there at the end. I didn’t believe them when they told me how fast it was but when we got towards the front, man, they weren’t lying to me.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. [No. 88 Chevrolet] Finished second.

Before the green flag about not having won in about 100 races:
“You come to the race track every week to try and win the race,” Earnhardt said. “I don’t really keep count, but it has been a long time. I feel closer to victory lane than I have I have in the most past. It is going to take some luck to make it happen this weekend because of the tire deal. We’ll just have to see how it goes.

“I just like racing here. It is a good short-track and I have fun racing here. I like different tracks for different reasons. The place is close to home and just fun.”

After the checkered flag:
“The credit really goes to Steve for the finish we had today and the team for really kind of plugging away and making the adjustments, even though some might not have worked as good as others," Earnhardt said. "We still needed to make some effort, put some effort into making the car better and those guys kept going all day long.
“I was thinking at the end that I was meant to win that damn race. Hell, I'm not sitting there leading that thing by seven car lengths thinking I'm about to lose.

“I just didn't adjust my driving or whatever I needed to do to change my line to find the speed in the car with the way it was handling; as the handling was changing, I didn't adapt to the line I needed to run I guess to find some speed out of it.

“But, I knew the 29 was fast the run before that, man, he was really quick. We all watched him come up through the pack there. I knew he had speed.”

Kyle Busch [No. 18 Toyota] Finished third.

Before the green flag:
“Every track is different,” Busch said. “There aren’t two racetracks out there that are the same. Everybody says that Atlanta, Texas, Charlotte, those places, are the same because they look the same from the sky. But they are so, so different. They say Chicago is the same as Kansas and (Las) Vegas, and those places are so different. California and Michigan, they’re so different.

“You’re looking to find things that will make your car just that much faster there. You want to drive into the corner one foot deeper than that other guy. You want to step on the gas one foot sooner than that other guy and you want to roll a half-mile-an-hour better than that other guy. That’s why it’s so finicky and so hard there because everybody runs so tight that, any little thing you can find, it can help a lot.”

After the checkered flag
“We had one of the best runs here we have ever had,” Busch said. “And I probably had the best car here today. Unfortunately just didn't win with it. Coming down to the last run of the race here, kind of a short run, and we just didn't quite have the car to do it on a short run. 
About the bump from Dale Earnhardt Jr.:
“I was holding him up. I sucked. So it was good for him. I mean, he took the lead. No harm, no foul.”

Photo credit: Dwight Drum @ Racetake.com


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