New Chase Format Adds Excitement To Goody's 500

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Dale Earnhardt is a championship contender this season.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ fall stop at Martinsville Speedway has always figured large in the season championship. But the significance of this year’s Goody’s® Headache Relief Shot® 500 cannot be understated.

The October 26 race is the first race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup’s Eliminator Round. Simply put, in the new Chase format, eight drivers will come to Martinsville with a shot to advance to the season-ending Championship Round. One could leave Martinsville with a championship berth guaranteed.

“I think any driver will tell you that the new Chase format has ramped up the importance of the Goody’s 500 and the excitement around the race,” Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell said of the Goody’s® Headache Relief Shot® 500. “The drivers in the Chase know they can sew up a spot in the championship with a win. And the drivers not in the Chase know they can make things really interesting by winning.”

The Chase will begin with the Challenger Round featuring 16 drivers eligible for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. After three races, four drivers will be eliminated and 12 drivers will square off for the three-race Contender Round.  By the time the series arrives in Martinsville, that number will be pared to eight with just three races remaining before the championship finale.

Jeff Gordon sits atop the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr., who picked up his third win of the season Sunday. Gordon and Earnhardt are two of seven drivers who have already qualified for the 16-driver Chase championship. The other five are Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson and Joey Logano.

Keselowski and Johnson join Earnhardt with three wins on the season.

Three of the seven drivers who have already qualified for the Chase – Gordon, Johnson and Harvick – have Martinsville wins. Gordon is the Goody’s® Headache Relief Shot® 500 defending champion.

Of those without a Martinsville win, Earnhardt has by far the best career results on the half-mile track, with 11 top-5 and 16 top-10 finishes.

Tickets to the year’s Goody’s® Headache Relief Shot® 500  on October 26, the Kroger 200 on October 25 and the Virginia Lottery Pole Day on October 24 can be purchased by calling 1.877.RACE.TIX. Tickets may also be purchased online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.

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