2023 NASCAR Preview: Week 9 – Martinsville

Back to asphalt, concrete, and The Paperclip!

Another wild dirt race at Bristol is followed by NASCAR’s shortest track at Martinsville, affectionately known as “The Paperclip.” You know…because it’s shaped like a paperclip! Anywho, we’ve left the dirt, and we’re back to pavement — both asphalt AND concrete. Still on that short track run though…

Here’s what to look for:

Ryan Preece got his first career Pole on Saturday, and he’ll start out front today. He’s ranked 34th of active drivers with an average finish of 25.3, but today he’ll be in a car that finished 21st and 14th here last year, and on a team that has all four of their drivers starting in the Top 10. Watch out for Stewart-Haas today!

William Byron won this race last Spring, and he’ll roll off 8th today. Willy B already has two Wins on the season, seeking his third today. Can he do it? Of course he can — he’s got a “good piece!”

-Over the last ten Martinsville races, Ryan Blaney sports a very healthy 6.5 average finish. He’s got the most points earned out of any driver as well, but he is still seeking that first Win.

-Quite the opposite, Martin Truex Jr. has put the “Martin” in “Martinsville” over that same span of time. He’s got three Wins in that time period and an 8.6 average finish. Today, Truex will start 5th.

Chase Elliott has returned out of nowhere, six weeks removed from a broken left tibia. He was back on track for the first time on Saturday, running himself to a 24th place starting position. How will Elliott look today? He’s far below where we’d expect him to be, but historically he’s tied for the second-most points earned (396) with a 9.8 average finish. What does NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver have for Martinsville today, and does he have enough fortitude to hang in there for 400 laps?

Coverage of the race starts on FS1 at 3:00pm, green flag scheduled for 3:01pm.

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