The MENCS will compete at Martinsville Speedway this week in the First Data 500. Track position is more important at Martinsville than any other track on the circuit. It is hard to pass at the short, paper-clip shaped track so do not select drivers to deep in the field this week.
** NASCAR will conduct an inspection Sunday at 7:30am ET. Any team who fails inspection once will lose their qualifying position and will start from the back. They will also be scored from the back. The SlingShot Auto Racing Contest lineup posted here may have to be updated after the inspection. Check back Sunday morning after 10am ET to see if any changes were made. I will also post a message on my Twitter Page and FaceBook Page.**
This is a good week to chase the 20 bonus points for winning the race. Kyle Busch has a 2.4 average finishing position in his last 7 races at Martinsville. Busch will start from the pole and he is almost a lock to finish in the top 2 again. I plan to use Busch this week and hopefully score the 20 bonus points and points for leading laps.
I am not sure what happened to Chase Elliott in qualifying. He will start 21st and should have a good chance to finish inside the top 10. The No. 9 team is really good at this track. They have not been great in practice this weekend but they have 500 laps to figure it out. I am not worried about Elliott.
Martinsville is the 2nd-best track for Ryan Newman. Last year he started 18th and finished 14th. Newman will start 18th again Sunday but could crack the top 10 this time. Newman posted the fastest lap in final practice.
I followed Austin Dillon on the radio in practice and he seemed to like his car. He said it was, “a little free but not too bad.” Dillon posted the 19th fastest lap in final practice. He starts 28th and he should be able to move up 10 spots Sunday.
Paul Menard had problems with his ignition switch in qualified. The car kept shutting off. The team will fix the problem before the race. He qualified 39th and his penalty for fixing the problem will be starting 39th, so no harm no fouls. Menard has an average finishing position of 17th at Martinsville. If he just runs his average this week he will score 44 bonus points for place differential.
Kyle Busch ($12,300) (Starts Pole)
Chase Elliott ($11,200) (Starts 21st)
Ryan Newman ($9,500) (Starts 18th)
Austin Dillon ($9,300) (Starts 28th)
Paul Menard ($7,700) (Starts 39th)
Good luck this week!
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