Martinsville Speedway isn’t the type of race track that is kind to rookies. It’s technical. It’s physical. And it can be frustrating.
That’s why three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rookies were at the historic speedway Tuesday, trying to get the best possible understanding of the .526-mile oval before they return in a couple of weeks for the Kroger 250.
Justin Boston, Daniel Hemric and Daniel Suarez took advantage of NASCAR’s rookie testing rule, which allows first-year drivers the opportunity to get a day of testing on tracks new to them.
Suarez, from Monterrey, Mexico, has several wins in NASCAR’s K&N East Series, a developmental series, and is also racing in the NASCAR Xfinity season this year. But Martinsville Speedway was something totally different for him.
“We have a race track in Mexico, the corners are pretty much the same size as Martinsville, but the straightaways are shorter and it’s older and very bumpy,” said Suarez, who is driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports. “It feels very smooth here. It feels fun to drive; it feels comfortable to be driving this race track.”
Suarez quickly found out everything he had heard about Martinsville was true; that it was no Sunday afternoon drive.
“It is very easy to feel like you can go fast into the corner, but the lap times go slower. The key here is to be patient to go fast,” said the 23-year-old Suarez. “We are learning a lot so far. We have like 60 laps on the truck and we are learning every single time we are going out on the race track. I’m just trying to be patient.”
Hemric had NTS Motorsports teammate James Buescher on hand to provide Martinsville pointers, and he said his teammate’s advice helped the day go smoothly. He hopes a solid test will translate to a solid “home-track” showing in the Kroger 250 on March 28, the day before the STP 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
“This race is huge for me here at Martinsville. Growing up in Kannapolis (NC) this was always a track we got to come to and sit in the stands,” said Hemric. “Our team is based in Kernersville, so I guess this is a home race for us. I’m really excited to be a part of it.”
Boston had a little Martinsville experience advantage on his fellow rookies. He raced in the prestigious ValleyStar Credit Union 300 Late Model Stock race at Martinsville three years ago. The biggest thing he learned from that weekend was Martinsville Speedway is a difficult track to master.
“I’ve raced here. It is a tough place and it’s definitely not easy on rookies,” said Boston, who is a teammate to Suarez at Kyle Busch Motorsports. “It takes a lot of discipline. You have to race the track as much as the drivers.”
Advance ticket prices for the STP 500 begin at just $45.
Prices increase the week of the race.
Tickets to the STP 500 on March 29, the Kroger 250 on March 28 and the Virginia Lottery Pole Day on March 27 can be purchased by calling 1.877.RACE.TIX. Tickets may also be purchased online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.