Column By: SHANE CARLSON / RPW – MARTINSVILLE, VA – The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race scheduled for Sunday has been postponed until Monday, as Mother Nature hit the region with snow.
Fans are in for a double-header on Monday, with both the Cup and also the Truck race being run as winter weather forced the delayed race weekend.
So what does it mean for the teams? It depends. Teams were able to complete both practice sessions prior to qualifying being snowed out. Track position is such a big factor at such a small track, so the teams that were on the top of the charts in practice are starting at the front of the field on Monday afternoon. It also means that for the teams that are starting in the middle to the rear of the field, they’re essentially starting the race a half-lap down. It’s the nature of the beast that is Martinsville Speedway.
Pit road is going to look like I-77 in Charlotte during rush hour. Everything is more compact and tighter quarters than seemingly every other track on the circuit. It’s easy for drivers to get penalized for speeding or miss their pit box entirely just because there’s so much going on in such a little space.
It may be cold in Martinsville, but don’t think tempers won’t run hot. Things can escalate in a hurry at Martinsville Speedway, especially with keeping the drivers cooped up for an extra day. They have a tendency to get a little cagey when their patience runs thin, and patience is definitely a virtue at a short track.
My Pick to Win is…
No. 48 Lowes For Pros Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Yes, Jimmie Johnson has struggled the latter half of last season and into this season. Lowes, his primary sponsor for the entirety of his Cup career, announced they were parting ways with the seven-time champion and leaving the sport altogether. It seems like a convenient time to get off the Jimmie Johnson wagon. Though Johnson doesn’t always show his emotions, I think he’s fired up about all the chatter surrounding him and whether he’s on the decline. He still has wins and possibly a championship or two left in him, and if there’s anything I’ve learned throughout studying his career, it is to never give up on Jimmie Johnson. I think he finds a way to claim his 10th Ridgeway grandfather clock.
Monday, March 26
2:00 PM ET
TV: FOX SPORTS 1
Radio: Motor Racing Network
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Power Rankings
- Kevin Harvick: Harvick got into the wall after slamming the door of Kyle Larson and losing control. An uncharacteristic move for Harvick, he should rebound this weekend.
- Martin Truex Jr.: The points leader has four top-fives in five starts and is coming off his first win of 2018. Bad news for everyone else.
- Kyle Busch: If Busch doesn’t win soon, we’re going to see a very ornery Kyle Busch.
- Joey Logano: Logano leads the Penske stable of Fords in the standings at third, followed by his teammates in fourth and fifth.
- Brad Keselowski: Keselowski is the defending winner of this race, and finished fourth last week in California.
- Ryan Blaney: Blaney and Harvick didn’t mince words after the race here in October. He’d like to make headlines for another reason on Monday.
- Kyle Larson: Finished second last week, and he would have loved to win there because, his numbers are not good at the paperclip.
- Denny Hamlin: There was a time when the Virginia native dominated his home track. It’s been hit or miss recently. I don’t think Chase Elliott has forgotten what happened in October.
- Clint Bowyer: Bowyer ran third at Martinsville in October, and could desperately use a win. If he’s within shouting distance of winning, I’m sure he won’t be afraid to use the bumper to end his long winless streak.
- Aric Almirola: Almirola is looking for a decent run at Martinsville, a track he’s not had much success with.