It took until his 22nd Sprint Cup start at Martinsville Speedway for Kyle Busch to visit victory lane at NASCAR’s shortest track.
And he stunk up the show.
Busch led 352 laps, the only time in the last six races at Martinsville that the winner led more than 100 laps. There were 11 lead changes, only the second time since 2009 that there were fewer than 15 at the short track.
It was one of four short-track wins Joe Gibbs Racing has earned this year of the five so far. Kevin Harvick‘s victory in the August Bristol race is the only exception.
JGR drivers have led 1,545 of the 2,307 laps raced on short tracks this year (67 percent).
Before Busch’s win, Denny Hamlin was the only current JGR driver with a Martinsville win (five).
Martinsville could be JGR’s best chance to end a six-race winless streak, which started after Hamlin won at Richmond International Raceway in the regular season finale.
Here’s who’s hot and cold entering this weekend’s Goody’s Fast Relief 500.
Who is Hot
- Finished 20th or worse in three of the six Chase races, had only two finishes outside the top 20 in the regular season.
- Finished top 10 in four of the last six races at Martinsville.
- Finished top five in last three races on short tracks including a win at Bristol in August.
- Top-10 finishes in six of the last seven races.
- Won at Martinsville in April, his only win at the track. Led 352 of 500 laps in April. It was the most laps led by a driver in the last 36 Martinsville races.
- His 686 laps led on short tracks in 2016 leads all drivers.
- Top-10 finishes in five of the last six races including two runner-up results.
- Finished top 10 in four of the last six races at Martinsville, but not the last two.
- Only one finish better than 15th in the last six races on short tracks, 36th or worse in four of the last six.
- Pole-winner for last three Martinsville races.
- Finished top five in three of the last five races at Martinsville.
- Led 435 laps at Martinsville, all in the last five races there.
Who is Cold
- Only two top-10 finishes in the Chase (third at Chicagoland and Dover).
- Finished 12th at Talladega, best finish in the round of 12 (finished 28 points back).
- Finished 20th at Martinsville in April, best finish in two starts.
- Only two top-10 finishes in the last eight races.
- Six poles this season, most of 2016 and his most in a season.
- Finished sixth at Martinsville in April, his second-best finish at the track and only top 10 in the last nine races there.
- Only one top-five finish at Martinsville in 24 starts, tied with Indianapolis for his fewest at a track.
- Only three top 10s in six races since winning at Richmond.
- Five wins, 16 top 10s in 21 Martinsville starts, but finished a career-worst 39th there in April.
- Won last short track race at Richmond.
- Finished 38th in the last two races after having a streak of seven straight top-10 finishes (failed to
finish in consecutive races for the first time in his career).
- Only two finishes better than 31st in the last five races at Martinsville.
- Finished fifth in the spring Martinsville race.
Other notes of interest entering the Goody’s Relief 500
- Martinsville was not yet built the last time the Chicago Cubs were in the World Series (1945).
- Jeff Gordon, making likely his final Sprint Cup start this weekend, has been running at the end of all 46 of his Martinsville starts.
- From fall 2006-2010, Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin were the only drivers to win at Martinsville (nine races).
- The 18 cautions in this race last year were the third most at the track and tied for the most in the last 17