At a scant 0.526 miles, the tight and flat oval at Martinsville, Virgnia, USA, poses a particular challenge with its 19-second laps, narrow track and crowded pitlane. And while it features the slowest speeds of the season, it would be a mistake to think for a second that drivers can afford to relax at NASCAR’s oldest track.
Brian Vickers talks about racing at Martinsville heading into Sunday’s Goody’s 500 where he will start 13th on the grid in the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota...
‘To get a good lap at Martinsville, it’s really important how you get into the corner, not to overdrive it and you have to carry speed through the centre to get you off the corner. It is exciting. I think Martinsville is one of the more interesting tracks we go to and, along with Bristol Motor Speedway, it’s one of the few real short tracks we have left.
When you think about it, Martinsville is really even more of a short track than Bristol because it’s flat and because of the way you have to race there. You really have to get in there and lean on each other and push and bang, and it’s a lot more technical than people realize. You really need to use a lot more technique there. I have always liked it, I think it’s a good facility for us and it always puts on a great race.
At Martinsville everything is close contact and your reactions have to be quick, but Bristol is the one where things happen the fastest. When you are taking reaction times, Bristol is banked 36 degrees and Martinsville is banked 10, so you’re carrying a tremendous amount of speed at Bristol and obviously things are going to happen faster.
But with both being short tracks, everything is so tight and everyone is so close together that things happen fast.’
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