CHAD PARRIES ON NASCAR
Perhaps the most anticipated NASCAR race at Martinsville Speedway will take place Sunday with the running of the First Data 500.
Of course there are the playoff implications, as the championship contenders was trimmed to eight drivers after Sunday’s race at Kansas. But beyond that, fans will get a different perspective with the weekend schedule of events at the track.
Saturday is typical, with two practices for the Cup Series, sandwiched by the running of the Camping World Truck Series Texas Roadhouse 200 presented by Alpha Energy Solutions. The green flag for that event will take place shortly after 1 pm.
Sunday will be unlike any other race day in Martinsville history. A handful of tracks throughout the season are experimenting with same day qualifying that takes place a few hours before the race. Martinsville is one of the venues that will do just that, and qualifying will begin at noon. The race will follow around 3:15pm, enabling the use of the newly installed lights at the track. With sunset being at 6:23pm, darkness should overtake the track by 7pm, and a race that generally takes around four hours to complete should end completely under the lights.
The eight drivers still fighting for the championship include heavy favorite Martin Truex Jr., winner of seven races this season, spring Martinsville winner Brad Keselowski, multiple time paper clip champions Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin, as well as Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Kevin Harvick, and Ryan Blaney, driving for Patrick County’s Wood Brothers Racing.
Tickets still remain for the First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway by logging on to www.martinsvillespeedway.com or by phone at 877-722-3849.
Chad Parries is a big NASCAR fan and former teacher in Craig County