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Martinsville II: Roush Fenway Racing preview

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« on: October 17, 2007, 10:53:40 pm »

Martinville II: Roush Fenway Racing preview
Racing series   NASCAR-CUP 
Date  2007-10-17

Roush Fenway Racing
Martinsville Speedway, Oct. 19-21
Martinsville, Va.

NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series: Subway 500
Sunday, October 21
1:00 PM Eastern - ABC/MRN

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series: Kroger 200
Saturday, October 20
2:30 PM Eastern - SPEED Channel/MRN

Roush Fenway Racing Fast Facts

* David Ragan competed at Martinsville Speedway in the NEXTEL Cup Series in October 2006. He started 41st and finished 25th.

* Ragan ran his first race at Martinsville in the Craftsman Truck Series in the spring of 2006. He qualified 5th, but finished 34th after blowing an engine late in the race.

* Ragan is currently in second place or the running of the 2007 NEXTEL Cup Raybestos Rookie of the Year. Juan Pablo Montoya leads Ragan by 15 points.


* In the spring race at Martinsville, Greg Biffle was running in the 14th position when it became apparent that he was having severe brake trouble and he took the car to the garage where the team replaced the brakes, losing only six laps.

* Biffle has one top-five finish, two top-10 finishes and one pole in three NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series starts at Martinsville Speedway.

* With the 27th place finish last week in Charlotte Biffle and the team are currently 16th in the point standings, 142 points out of the 13th position.

* This weekend Biffle will run the red and black Dish Network paint scheme.


* Since entering the Cup Series in 2000, Matt Kenseth has completed the second most laps of any Cup driver at Martinsville in the past 15 Cup races (7,395 of 7,500).

* Kenseth's No. 17 Ford will run the last R+L Carriers paint scheme for 2007 this weekend. In the previous three outings with R+L Carriers on the hood, Kenseth has finished 12th at Charlotte in May, eighth in Daytona in July, and seventh at Fontana in September.

* Kenseth's average finish during the Chase at Martinsville is 13.0; ranking fifth among all Chase tracks.

* What a difference a year makes - Last season, Kenseth entered Martinsville only 45 points out of first and exited with a 36-point lead in the Championship Standings. This season, Kenseth has endured one of the worst four-race streaks in his career and currently sits 12th, 442 points out of first.


* In his last four starts at Martinsville Speedway, Jamie McMurray has posted three top-10 finishes.

* In nine career Cup starts at Martinsville Speedway, McMurray has one top-five finish and six top-10 finishes.

* 13.9 - McMurray has both an average starting position and finishing position of 13.9 at Martinsville Speedway.

* Martinsville Speedway is McMurray's second-best track on the NASCAR circuit behind California Speedway.


* Carl Edwards is currently fifth in the 'Chase' for the NEXTEL Cup with 5640 points, 240 points behind the leader, Jeff Gordon

* Edwards will make his sixth Cup start at Martinsville this weekend. Edwards has completed 94% of the laps attempted at Martinsville

* Edwards captured his best NNCS finish (12th place) at Martinsville in October of last year

* Edwards' best finish at Martinsville came back in 2003, when he finished second in the Craftsman Truck Series race. He started that race from the pole position

* City of Hope--Edwards will show his support for City of Hope by wearing a special firesuit and helmet in the Subway 500. Fan will be given an opportunity to bid on the firesuit and helmet in an online auction that will last through November 5 and can be accessed by visiting


David Ragan
Team: No. 6 AAA Insurance Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Jimmy Fennig
Chassis: Primary: RK- 467 Previously ran at Richmond in the spring, finished 20th; Loudon, finished 15th; Richmond in the fall, finishes 3rd
     Back-up: RK- 459 Previously ran at Phoenix, finished 41st; Dover, finished 14th; Loudon, finished 19th

Ragan on racing at Martinsville Speedway:
"I believe the first time I raced here at Martinsville in the Cup cars I was referred to as a dart with no feathers, so I am hoping that I have at least sprouted a few by now. This will be the second COT race at Martinsville and the 15th COT race of the season so I am looking forward to a good run and a good finish. We have had a rough couple of weeks so we definitely need to redeem ourselves and I think this weekend will be a good weekend for it. I really enjoy the short tracks and that is where I am most comfortable so I guess we will see what happens, but we are looking forward to a good weekend."

Crew Chief Jimmy Fennig on racing at Martinsville Speedway:
"The last short track race that we ran was Richmond where David finished 3rd and after the past few weeks we could definitely use another good finish so I think we are all looking forward to Martinsville this weekend. The Busch teams are off this weekend which will help David focus more on his Cup car, especially with it being a COT race. We finished 15th here in the spring so we would really like to beat that and bring home another top-5 or top-10. There are only five races left in the 2007 season and we are sitting right outside of the top 20. That is definitely somewhere that we would like to be when Homestead rolls around."

Greg Biffle
Team: No. 16 Dish Network Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Greg Erwin
Chassis: RK-476 Loudon, Sep. '07 - finished 13th

Biffle on racing at Martinsville Speedway:
"I don't have a very good history at Martinsville. We seem to have a lot of brake trouble there and just bad luck in general. We've been working really hard on the COT program and I think we've definitely improved over the course of the season. The guys are doing a few things to try to make sure we don't have the same brake problems we had in the spring and if we can do that and get a little luck on our side this time, it should be a decent race for us."

Crew Chief Greg Erwin on racing at Martinsville Speedway:
"We're taking the same car we raced at the second New Hampshire race this year because we felt like we made progress with it there. We've been working with the engineering department and the seven-post information to continue to better our COT program, so we'll see what we can do this weekend. At Martinsville you have to focus on getting the car to turn in the center and good forward drive off of the corner. We're going to give the car as much brake cooling as possible because that was a problem for the team back in April and we're going to work on a brake compound that hopefully won't generate as much heat."

Matt Kenseth
Team: No. 17 R+L Carriers/DEWALT Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Robbie Reiser
Chassis: RK-451 Last outing: Loudon, Sep. '07 - finished seventh
     Also: Has one top five (Phoenix) and four top 10s in five starts
     RK-458 Has served as backup in five races in '07, but has yet to see action

Kenseth on racing at Martinsville Speedway:
"Well, at some point, our luck has got to change, so maybe it'll be this weekend at Martinsville which is a track I usually dread racing at. To me, and I've said this a lot, Martinsville reminds me of racing around two light polls in some mall parking lot. There's very little room to race, it's slow and just real tight quarters. Forget passing on the outside, I think everyone saw that back in the spring when the second-place car, which was a good bit faster at the time, couldn't get around the leader for the last 20 laps or so. To me, there's nothing fun about that.

"We need to just try and focus on getting a solid finish. The last month has been real tough for everyone on the team. They work so hard and for one reason or the other we haven't been able to finish races here lately. It's something we aren't really used to, but everybody goes through these stretches. The promising sign is that our cars have improved a great deal from where we were two months ago and our pit crew is back doing the things they always do and picking up positions on pit road. We just need to have an uneventful day for a change and bring home a good finish."

Crew Chief Robbie Reiser on racing at Martinsville Speedway:
"We feel pretty confident in the COT we're taking this weekend. It's run more than any of our COTs and it's been pretty good on the flat tracks. Hopefully, it'll be as good this weekend if not better. Martinsville is all about how good we can get the car to turn in the center, pretty much the same philosophy as everywhere else, so that Matt can get on the gas as quickly as possible. You also have to have a good brake package and we've done a lot of work over the past year to improve what we take to the track.

"This team doesn't have any quit in them. We're realist and we know what we can and can't do, but for right now, all we're concerned with is this weekend at Martinsville, trying to win the race or get the best finish we can. Our performance has actually been pretty good over the past four races, but we just don't have anything to show for it. But, there's not a thing we can do about that now. All we can do is go forward and try to do the best we can and maybe win a couple races here at the end of the season."

Jamie McMurray
Team: No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Larry Carter
Chassis: Primary: RK - 463 Last raced at New Hampshire; Sept. 2007, Finished 11th
     Backup: RK - 462 Last raced at Martinsville; April 2007; Finished ninth

McMurray on racing at Martinsville Speedway:
"The No. 26 Crown Royal team had such a good run at Martinsville in the spring race, I've certainly been excited about returning to the track. Martinsville is one of those places as a driver that you either really like racing at, or don't like visiting there at all. I'm one of the guys that really enjoys racing at Martinsville. In the spring race we qualified second and finished in the top 10, which was our second top-10 finish in the COT in two weeks. Hopefully, this weekend we can have a repeat performance at Martinsville. It would be great to grab another pole and have an even better finish than the spring.

"Last weekend I thought we had one of the best cars on the track. We were just very unlucky with our pit stop timing there at the end of the race. We had a top-five car that finished 24th. It's frustrating because I know how good our cars have been recently, we just haven't been able to put together both a strong car and a good finish. Hopefully this weekend at Martinsville, our luck will change a little and we can have a better run."

Crew Chief Larry Carter on racing at Martinsville Speedway:
"I've always enjoyed racing at Martinsville as a crew chief. I remember when Rusty (Wallace) scored his last NEXTEL Cup win there in 2005. It was an exciting race and one that I will always remember as a crew chief. This weekend, I know we are taking a strong car and it's even better because this is a track that Jamie runs really well at and a track he enjoys racing at. We are taking RK-463, which is a "sister car" to the one we took to Martinsville last time. We had a tough stroke of bad luck last week at Lowe's. Hopefully we can shake that from our backs and have a good run this weekend with our No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion."

Carl Edwards
Team: No.99 Office Depot Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Bob Osborne
Chassis: RK-505 Richmond, Sep. '07 - started sixth and finished 42nd after mechanical failure

Edwards on racing at Martinsville Speedway:
"Martinsville is a track that I've really had a tough time at over the years. It's probably one of the toughest tracks for me in the Cup car, but I'm still really looking forward to the race. Track position is so important at Martinsville and in Car of Tomorrow races, if we can have a decent qualifying run in the Office Depot Ford I think we can race well there. We haven't had a good Cup race there yet, but we've got a great Car of Tomorrow program, so it should be good. A lot can happen in 500 laps and at Martinsville things like pit strategy and tire management can make or break you. Hopefully things will fall into place and our Office Depot team will continue to make strides towards the Championship."

Crew Chief Bob Osborne on racing at Martinsville Speedway:

"Martinsville is a difficult track. I would say it's one of the tracks we've struggled the most with. But, it's a Car of Tomorrow race and the Office Depot team has had a lot of success recently in our Car of Tomorrow program, so hopefully this weekend will be no exception. Qualifying will be key, because it's so hard to pass in the Car of Tomorrow and at a short-track like Martinsville once can easily be lapped. This will be a tough track for us but I feel confident in our team and driver and am looking forward to a strong finish."


NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series:

Travis Kvapil
Team: No. 6 K&N Filters Ford F-150
Crew Chief: Mike Beam
Chassis: RK-330-45, last raced at Loudon where Kvapil started third and finished 15th

Kvapil on racing at Martinsville Speedway:
"I've come close to winning at Martinsville a couple of times in the truck series. I grew up, like we all did, short track racing on the half-miles back home in late models. I always feel comfortable going to Martinsville, it's a demanding race and it's very hard on equipment, but I feel it's a race we have a chance to win."

Crew Chief Mike Beam on racing at Martinsville Speedway:
"Travis has always run well at Martinsville, so we'll head there this weekend looking to win the race. We had a strong truck in the spring, but we got caught behind when we decided to pit late in the race and the cautions kept coming. We know that our chances for the championship are basically gone, so we'll look to win as many races as we can in the final five of the season."

Colin Braun
Team: No. 50 RSC Equipment Rental Ford F-150
Crew Chief: John Quinn
Chassis: RK-240-34 Raced at Loudon where T.J. Bell started 21st and finished 16th

Braun on racing at Martinsville Speedway:
"The goals are the same as they were in all the ARCA races, to finish all the laps and get as much experience as I can. I'm looking forward to getting out there and driving the No. 50 RSC Equipment Rental F-150. There will be a lot to learn and I will need to give a lot of room to the drivers who will want to push me around a little bit, but I will certainly do that. I think one of the biggest challenges for me will be to gain the respect of the other drivers and I'm going to work real hard to do that. I want to make all the laps I can and gain as much experience as I can. We had a good test at Caraway with Travis Kvapil and Erik Darnell and I'm looking forward to racing with them, I think I'll learn a lot from them."

Crew Chief John Quinn on racing at Martinsville Speedway:
"We had a good test at Caraway. The outing was a good test for Colin to get to know the team and the trucks. We feel like we have a good truck for Colin to bring to Martinsville for his first Truck race. We all know that Martinsville is not an easy track to go to especially for the first time so it was good to get some practice in the truck he will run."

Colin Braun FAST FACTS

* This will be Braun's first career Craftsman Truck Series start. He tested at Caraway with teammates Travis Kvapil and Erik Darnell in preparation for Martinsville.

* Braun has three career ARCA Series starts, never finishing outside the top 10. He qualified 13th and finished ninth at Gateway; qualified fifth and finished third at Chicagoland; and qualified third and finished ninth at Talladega.

* Braun led his first career ARCA laps at Talladega two weeks ago where he also posted his best career qualifying effort in the series - third.

* A road course wiz: In 15 starts in '07; Braun had two poles, nine top-five and 12 top-10 finishes with Krohn Racing in the Rolex Grand Am Series.

Erik Darnell
Team: No. 99 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford F-150
Crew Chief: Matt Puccia
Chassis: RK-245-35, last raced at O'Reilly Raceway Park where Darnell started 14th and finished seventh

Darnell on racing at Martinsville Speedway:
"Martinsville is not one of my favorite tracks, but we've had some good runs there. We had a rough race in the spring, but I think we'll be better this time around. Martinsville is a very demanding track, and track position is everything. It's important to get a good qualifying effort in and stay up front all races long."

Crew Chief Matt Puccia on racing at Martinsville Speedway:
"We had a hard finish two weeks ago at Talladega, but we've put that behind us and it's on to Martinsville. We tested at Caraway last week, which should help us for this weekend. Erik has run well at Martinsville in the past, and I think we're capable of contending for the win this weekend."

-credit: rfr

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