2018 NASCAR Preview: Week 33 – Martinsville

Now booking, reservations for Homestead..

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Chase Elliott notched his third victory of the season (that’s two in the Round of 12) leaving some hopefuls out in the cold.  The field has been shrunk once more — now to eight — and a Win for one guarantees a crack at the Cup.

$2 hot dogs are on the grill soon, and all is right at The ‘Clip…for now.

Here’s what to look for:

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Kyle Busch poses with his new Grandfather Clock after winning 2017’s First Data 500. (Photo: Jared C. Tilton, Getty Images)

Kyle Busch will have the cleanest of air at the most congested track on the circuit.  One of the “Big Three” this season, it was a pretty good idea that he’d be competing at Homestead, but nothing is definite this year.  We know he can win..because he did so here just last year.  Defending champ of the race, and starting out front.  Great place to be.

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Mar 26, 2018; Martinsville, VA, USA; Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Clint Bowyer (14) and his son Cash, pose with the trophy following the STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway. (Mandatory Credit: Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports)

Clint Bowyer starts Outside Pole today, and like his front-row-mate Kyle Busch, he’s a recent winner here.  The most recent, in fact, as the #14 visited Victory Lane back in March.  Bowyer is one of four Stewart-Haas Fords in the Round of 8.

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Martin Truex Jr. carries a quiet confidence heading into the Round of 8. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner | Getty Images)

Martin Truex Jr. finished 2nd last Fall, and 4th in the Spring.  He’ll be one to contend with today (but now starting from the back after a failed inspection), though he’s still yet to log a short track Win on NASCAR’s premier circuit.  Truex has a steep hill to climb.

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Seeing all of their teammates in the Round of 8 puts a smile on the faces of Stewart-Haas Racing’s Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick. (Photo Credit: Zack Albert | NASCAR Digital Media)

Kevin Harvick has placed 5th at each of the last two races here, rolling off 13th today.  That’s the best he’s finished since 2011, also the year of his sole Martinsville Win.  Just a 15.5 average, he’ll need to outpace himself here.

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AJ Allmendinger will start 17th in the No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet (Photo Credit: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

A.J. Allmendinger isn’t a name you hear much of outside of road courses, but Martinsville has been fairly kind to him.  Of twenty attempts, he’s got seven Top 10s, his most of any track.  Dinger practiced well this week, too, though his Qualifying results are a bit misleading.  Starting 17th, expect him to finish higher than that.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series First Data 500

MARTINSVILLE, VA – OCTOBER 29: Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota, lead the field to green for the start of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 29, 2017 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

Coverage of the race starts on NBCSN at 2:30pm, green flag scheduled for 2:43pm.

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