NSCS Ford Performance NASCAR: Martinsville 2 Notes

FORD PERFORMANCE NASCAR: MARTINSVILLE 2 NOTES

The Eliminator Round begins this weekend at Martinsville Speedway and Ford’s Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski are still alive in the battle for this year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.  Here’s a look at Ford’s history at Martinsville.

NEW THIS WEEK…Joey Logano comes into Sunday’s race at Martinsville Speedway after sweeping the Contender Round with three straight victories.  That marked the first time a Ford driver won three in a row since Rusty Wallace in 1994.  A win this weekend would make Logano the first Ford driver since Mark Martin in 1993 to win four consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events.  Martin’s streak included victories at Watkins Glen (8/8), Michigan (8/15), Bristol (8/28) and Darlington (9/5).

THE FIRST TIME…Ford won a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway also marked the first career victory for 2015 NASCAR Hall of Famer Fred Lorenzen.  The date was April 9, 1961 and Lorenzen battled Rex White, who led the first 118 laps after starting on the pole.  Lorenzen, driving for Holman-Moody at the time, grabbed the lead on lap 119 and held it until rain came ending the race prematurely after 149 circuits.  Little did anyone know that 54 years later both men would be enshrined into the NASCAR Hall of Fame as part of the same inductee class.

THE LAST TIME…Ford went to victory lane in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway was on Oct. 20, 2002 with Kurt Busch and crew chief Jimmy Fennig.  Busch set a track record for winning from the furthest starting position after taking the green flag in 36th.  It took him all day to eventually get to the front of the field, but he took the lead on lap 389 and surrendered it for only one lap to Johnny Benson the rest of the way in posting his second career win.  Benson was all over Busch’s bumper in the closing laps as lap traffic created plenty of drama, but Busch was able to weave his way through and take the checkered flag.

IN BETWEEN…Ford has 26 all-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins at Martinsville Speedway, but it’s been 25 races since it last reached victory lane.  Fred Lorenzen owns six of those wins with four of them coming consecutively from 1963-65, but nothing demonstrated his domination during that streak better than 1964 when he led 990 out of a possible 1,000 laps.  Lorenzen led 487 laps in the first race that season and 493 in the second to easily win both events.

Another NASCAR Hall of Famer who had great success at Martinsville was Richard Petty, who holds the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series record for most wins with 15.  That total includes a pair of wins in 1969, which was the only year ‘The King’ ran a Ford.

FORD WINNERS AT MARTINSVILLE
6 – Fred Lorenzen (1961,’63,’64*,’65,’66)
4 – Rusty Wallace (1994*,’95,’96)
3 – Geoffrey Bodine (1990*,’92)
2 – Richard Petty (1969*)
2 – Ricky Rudd (1986,’98)
2 – Mark Martin (1992, 2000)
1 – Nelson Stacy (1962)
1 – Junior Johnson (1965)
1 – Ernie Irvan (1993)
1 – Jeff Burton (1997)
1 – Dale Jarrett (2001)
1 – Ricky Craven (2001)
1 – Kurt Busch (2002)

* Denotes season sweep