Not Your Grandfather’s Martinsville

Actually, it was probably a lot like your grandfather’s Martinsville – everyone with large black zeroes on both sides of their car. I can picture Weatherly, Thomas, Petty, Buck, the Flocks and the 22 other drivers (including Glen Wood and Gwyn Staley) battling for 200 laps in the first paved race at this track. (10.16.55).

This race and the next could be termed Nascar’s version of “the turn” or “Amen Corner”. The smallest track to the largest and many opportunities to impact the standings.

It may not be such a big deal, but it just doesn’t seem right that a car can get off pit road ahead of another car, but – as it happened too many times last Sunday – by doing so, can be at a distinct disadvantage on the restart to the car he beat. It seems this is really only a problem at Martinsville.

There appears to be no rhyme or reason to Nascar’s use of the caution. I won’t go into detail today, but I’m just about ready to concede that Nascar must see things that the TV audience (and cameramen) misses.

10.23.56: From only reading the box score without any other data, one could easily conclude that owner Carl Kiekhaefer was willing to risk someone else’s life or limb to win the Champioship. He rented a track, promoted a race, and got Nascar to add it to the schedule late in the season – all within 10 days. One of his drivers took out the points leader (Herb Thomas). Herb, who had recently quit the Kiekhaefer team, suffered serious injuries preventing him from finishing the season. He ended up 2nd in the points to Kiekhaefer driver Buck Baker.

If Ned were in the booth we’d know what’s up with Johnny Rumley.

Ref:, Greg Fielden’s “Forty Years of Stock Car Racing”, Richard Sowers’ “The Complete Statistical History of Stock-Car Racing”.

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