Dale Earnhardt Jr. is Going to Get it Done at Martinsville

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Two weeks ago there was some Martinsvilleesque racing at Auto Club Speedway with some beating and banging at the finish.  This week NASCAR returns to Martinsville Speedway for the real thing for the STP Gas Booster 500Dale Earnhardt Jr. is leading the points for the Sprint Cup but no one seems to know.  Doesn’t matter to Dale, he is ready for Martinsville.

The Martinsville Speedway is a ½ mile track, .526 miles to be exact.  Many people refer to it as the paper clip track because if you look at it from above it looks exactly like a paper clip.  There is 12 degrees of banking in the turns and the straights are flat.  Since it is a short track the race is 500 laps not miles.

This track is another one where track position is very important because it will be very hard to pass.  Pit stops and pit strategy will be the key to getting and keeping track position.  This also makes qualifying very important.   Some drivers may lose patience with one another.  That is what makes Martinsville; well Martinsville there is no other track like it.

Looking at the driver ratings for this track it would appear that Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon with ratings of 122.3 and 120.9 have the race in hand.  Every other driver should just park.  It also highlights the fact that with the way the Joe Gibbs Racing cars have been performing we would be talking about Denny Hamlin to win this race if he had not gotten hurt.

Each and every week we also look at momentum and past history along with the driver ratings in order to focus on the driver that looks poised to get a win.  This week that driver is Dale Earnhardt Jr.  With Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon being the mark of inconsistency, Dale Jr. with his five top ten finishes this year is not.  Dale Jr. has one to loose.  He can go all out on a track that, although he has not won at, he has a great record at.

Dale Jr. knows how to run this track and this race.  “But it’s the guys that can really discipline themselves inside the car and not over-drive it and not really get to seeking all over the racetrack.” Dale Jr. added “You’ve got to be flexible and open-minded to where your car wants to be and where it wants to run, but when you do find what works, you’ve got to be able to repeat it over and over without getting too greedy about getting into the corner faster or trying to get into the throttle sooner, doing things like that.

If Dale Earnhardt Jr. can qualify his car near the front and execute exactly what he said above he will get a win at Martinsville.

If you cannot get to Martinsville Speedway, the race will be broadcast live on FOX on Sunday, April 7th at 1 PM ET.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for RantSports.com.

Follow him on Twitter @brian_jr1 during the race and throughout the week for more NASCAR news and commentary. On Facebook at NASCAR News and Commentary. On Pinterest at NASCARnews. Also add to your network on Google.

Top 12 Driver Rating at Martinsville
Jimmie Johnson…………………… 122.3
Jeff Gordon………………………… 120.9
Denny Hamlin………………………. 111.6
Dale Earnhardt Jr…………………… 99.8
Tony Stewart…………………………. 99.7
Kyle Busch…………………………… 95.3
Kevin Harvick………………………… 92.3
Clint Bowyer…………………………. 90.8
Ryan Newman……………………….. 89.5
Jeff Burton…………………………… 87.5
Mark Martin…………………………… 87.0
Brad Keselowski……………………. 84.5
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2012 races (16 total) among active drivers at Martinsville Speedway


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