Burton Says Martinsville Sport's Toughest Test


Sprint Cup racing always has its wild side at Martinsville.


Jeff Burton has been driving at Martinsville Speedway for more than two decades and all that experience makes him certain of one thing: Sprint Cup racing’s shortest track is also its toughest.

“Martinsville is hard. It’s a track some drivers don’t like because it is so hard, so unique, so different,” Burton said recently during a test session for next Sunday’s Goody’s® Headache Relief Shot® 500 Powered by Kroger.

Martinsville’s long straightaways and tight turns always produce fan-pleasing action. It is just as exciting behind the steering wheel, Burton said, but not nearly as much fun as in the grandstands.

“Five-hundred laps at Martinsville, I’m telling you, it’s a long day,” said Burton, who has one win and 10 top-five finishes in 38 Martinsville Sprint Cup starts. “It’s physically demanding. It’s emotionally demanding. It’s just a hard race. Little mistakes add up at Martinsville and cost you big.

“It requires full attention. It requires a good-handling car. It requires a driver to be on top of his game and it requires a little bit of luck. You’re always in something. You’re never running by yourself. It’s so easy for something to happen.”

But Burton says that’s the way it should be. That’s the type of racing fans expect to see.

“It’s a demanding race track, but that’s what it’s supposed to be. The NFL is supposed to be harder than Pop Warner (youth football) and the Sprint Cup Series is the highest level of racing in America and it is supposed to be harder than every other series,” said Burton. “Five-hundred laps at Martinsville is probably the hardest racing we do all year.”

Teams roll into town on Thursday, with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team loading into the infield midday and the Sprint Cup teams loading in late in the afternoon.

On-track action begins at 9 a.m. Friday with the first of two practice sessions for the Kroger 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. The second truck series practice is at 10:30 a.m.

The Sprint Cup cars take to the track at noon Friday for a 90-minute practice.

Qualifying for the Goody’s® Headache Relief Shot® 500 Powered by Kroger is set for 3:40 on Friday followed by Kroger 200 qualifying.

There are two Sprint Cup practices on Saturday, one at 10:30 and the other at noon. The Kroger 200 takes the green flag at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Driver introductions for the Goody’s® Headache Relief Shot® 500 Powered by Kroger are set for 1 p.m. on Sunday with the race taking the green flag at 1:30.

Fan gates open at 9 a.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Tickets are still available for the Goody’s® Headache Relief Shot® 500 Powered by Kroger.

Advance tickets for the Kroger 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Saturday, Oct. 26 are just $30 and tickets for Pole Day, Friday, October 25 are $15. Youth 12 and under are admitted free on both October 25 and 26. To purchase tickets for the Goody’s® Headache Relief Shot® 500 Powered by Kroger weekend, call 877.RACE.TIX or visit www.martinsvillespeedway.com.

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