ABINGDON, Va. (October 28, 2015) – Caleb Holman will tell you right up front that Martinsville Speedway is a difficult track for him.
But he will also tell you the historic half-mile is the site of his best finish in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and that he’s excited to be going back there this weekend for the Kroger 200.
”It’s just sort of unnatural to me,” Holman said of Martinsville and its long straights and tight, almost flat turns. “I’ve never taken to the flat and heavy braking tracks. I like to run in hard and let it roll through the corners. At Martinsville there’s a lot to the braking and technical side of it.
“But I think it’s a hard track for everybody, not just me. I can run well there. My best finish is there, but it just doesn’t come natural.”
Holman had a solid run in last fall’s race and wound up 11th after a final turn, final-lap bump took him out of the top 10. It is his best finish in 26 truck series starts in the Food Country USA Chevrolet.
“It wasn’t the best truck we’ve ever had last year, just the best finish. I was running 10th on the last lap, went into the final corner, got hit from behind, then I hit the guy in front of me and it was a drag race to the end,” Holman recalled.
“The biggest thing at Martinsville is patience. You have to keep the fenders on it and not let your emotions get away from you. When all was said and done last year, we didn’t have the truck torn up and we could race people.”
Holman hasn’t raced since late August; his team runs an abbreviated schedule. But in that last race he qualified eighth at Bristol and was running sixth just past the halfway point when he got caught up in someone else’s wreck and was forced out of the race. It was a heartbreaker for Holman and his team.
Even though he hasn’t been at the track since August, he hasn’t been idle. He and crew chief Chris Carrier, the team’s only fulltime employees, have spent the time rebuilding the Chevrolet. And he believes they are solid for Martinsville and the Kroger 200.
“We don’t go to the track unless we know we can be competitive. Charlie (team owner Charlie Henderson) has no desire to go and just race,” said Holman, who qualified sixth at Kentucky earlier this season and finished 14th.