Everything you need to know for NASCAR’s first short-track race under the lights of the season, the eighth regular-season Cup Series event of the 2022 campaign.
Race day info 📝
Or: Martinsville, Virginia
Approximate start time: 7:30 p.m. ET | Weekend schedule
TV/Radio: Radio NASCAR FS1, MRN, SiriusXM | Full TV lineup
Provide: Partly cloudy, with lows around 35, according to NOAA.gov | Weather tracking
Race distance: 400 rounds | 210.4 miles
Steps: 80 | 180 | 400
Pit road speed: 30 mph
Attention speed of the car: 35 mph
Martinville 101: Get the full detail
Starting composition: Complete composition
Pit stands: Expert pit analysis | Stall Missions
Key things to watch out for 🔑
Great story line: Martinsville – that’s it. That’s the big story here. NASCAR is heading north to legendary venue Virginia for a Saturday night short-track showdown under the lights and if that doesn’t make your hair on the nape of your neck, pick another sport to watch. “The Paperclip” always delivers the end of the races, with a healthy dose of drama usually sprinkled in. The meat in the short-track sandwich of the Richmond-Martinsville-Bristol Dirt program, Saturday’s race – now just 400 laps, maybe increasing the pressure – is sure to be a thriller since the green flag dropped at the first Next-Gen crack at NASCAR’s oldest and arguably most historic track. We’ve already seen bricks laid for the potential beef of 2022; maybe it’s just a matter of when they fully light up. For what it’s worth, Martinsville’s most recent winner and last week’s Richmond winner, both expected to be strong again this weekend, may have some unfinished business. | Hamlin: ‘I haven’t had a chance yet’ to fight back
Who fired? Who is not ? : In pretty much every way it’s been Ryan Blaney’s season so far – he’s the series leader in top 10s, laps led, stage wins and poles and sits top of the points standings. The only thing missing from his stats, however, is in the wins department. At some point, the combination of driver talent and bringing the fastest car to the track each week will result in the #12 driver’s first victory of 2022… but will it be at Martinsville? Well, maybe. He was runner-up in both 2020 races at the track and led 157 laps in that race last year, but it’s all been Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing on short tracks lately – and William Byron and Martin Truex Jr .are also as hot as Blaney. His teammates, unfortunately, qualify for the “no” part of that, as Austin Cindric and Joey Logano have combined three top-10 finishes over the past five races. Team Penske doesn’t stick around long, though, and Martinsville is certainly a track that’s been good over the years, if not so much lately. | Will the clock strike ’12’ for Blaney?
Driving under the radar: Go ahead and name the best lap leaders from Stewart-Haas Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing for 2022 so far. I’ll wait, because you’re probably wrong. Chase Briscoe (128) and Christopher Bell (111) pace their respective teams in homers up front, as well as their top-five double digits among the series leaders. Will this be the case in November? Hard to say – but they’ve certainly been riding under the radar so far, even though Briscoe has already picked up a win. Notably, these drivers are still succeeding amid some early-season setbacks for both top-tier organizations. Somehow you wonder just how much of the untapped potential of the former pair of Xfinity Series stalwarts (28 wins in 161 starts combined) might start to come true once SHR and JGR sort things out with the Next Gen era. And if the changing of the guard in these two respective stables is already underway.
Race day essentials ✅
Our biggest bits of the week – get covered for race day from every angle.
• Paint scheme preview: The colors are ready to roll in Martinsville | Choose a favorite
• Power ratings: Ryan Blaney climbs at lightning speed to the first row | Where does it rank?
• Fantastic Fast Lane: Will Joe Gibbs Racing continue its momentum at Martinsville? | Top games, sleepers
• Drivers at the rear: Why can’t Ryan Blaney wrap up a win? | Listen to the debate
• NASCAR Bet: Martinsville Spring Race Odds | BetMGM Odds
Catch the pack 💨
Read headlines from the week leading up to Sunday’s race.
• Score: Chase Elliott dominates Friday sessions at Martinsville | Read more
• Dirty Devil: Kyle Larson leads NASCAR stars at Millbridge | Read more
• Preparation of the grid: NASCAR’s Moran discusses Busch’s grille tape inspection | Listen to the explanation
• Four more: New names added to NASCAR Hall of Fame ballot for Class of 2023 | Read more | Meet the nominees
• Penalty report: Two Kaulig Racing teams fined for lug nut violation at Richmond | Read more
• Next generation analysis: Hamlin’s Richmond win comes in focus by looking at pit strategies | Read more
• Seven out of seven: Seven races, seven different winners as Cup Series heads to ‘The Paperclip’ | Read more
• Boogie Woogie: First electric truck ready to pace the NASCAR race at Martinsville | Read more
Get in on the action 💰
Think you know NASCAR? Test your mettle with play, fantasy.
• Play live: Complete NASCAR Fantasy Live 2022 Game Guide | Get the FAQ
• Backseat Bets: Will Hamlin beat Elliott head-to-head? | See the video
• 2nd round? BetMGM: Martin Truex Jr., William Byron have another battle looming in Martinsville | Read more
• The Action Network: How to bet Truex Jr. vs. Byron | Discover expert advice
• Weekly accessories: Is JGR maintaining momentum? | Make your choices
• Go until the end : NASCAR betting: 2022 Cup Series championship odds | See them here
Back in Martinsville 📎
Martinsville Speedway has had its share of history, hosting 146 Cup races since 1949. Check out some important track information.
• Jump forward: Unprecedented wins at Martinsville Speedway spring race | Who has the most?
• Remember when: The most historic moments at Martinsville Speedway | How many do you remember?
• Flip Clock: NASCAR’s early days date back to Martinsville | Read more
• Last spring: Martin Truex Jr. rallies Hamlin for Martinsville win | Race summary | Watch the highlights of the race
Fast facts ⏩
Hard-hitting, race-relevant stats from the experts at Racing Insights.
• Five of Martinsville’s last eight poles have been taken by Joey Logano, and the rest have been taken by current JGR riders.
• The 2021 Martinsville race winners led a combined 29 laps, with Martin Truex Jr. leading 20 in the spring and Alex Bowman leading nine in the fall.
• There have been nine or more cautions on the final stop at Martinsville in both races in 2021.
• The last seven short track races have been won by Hendrick Motorsports or Joe Gibbs Racing.
• The eventual winner came in the top three of Stage 2 in nine of Martinsville’s 10 races with stages.
Say what? 🎙
Notable quotes from sports stars ahead of Sunday’s race.
• “I feel like we’ve been solid at times. Other than Vegas, I felt like there were signs of rhythm for us. We haven’t put a whole day together yet. We will continue to do our job and keep moving forward. That’s really all you can do. This deal pays off in November. We still have a long way to go, and I feel like we have a great team, and this is the part of the year we want to be most prepared for. We want to win and we want to earn as many bonus points as possible, don’t get me wrong, but there are still a lot of races to be done. — Chase Elliott, #9 Hendrick Motorsports driver, in 2022
• “To be honest with you, (missing the playoffs) definitely crossed my mind, especially with the start of the season. I think we were – we could have been last in points after the first three races or so , so it wasn’t ideal at all. I was really nervous about that, and we seemed to be heading for an uptrend in Atlanta and we got a good finish, we seemed to have had a good points day and that was removed, so it hasn’t been good. We’ve been able to help each other over the past few weeks, but we know we’re definitely in a really big points hole, and we’re focused on getting every step of the way. , and every week, and get a good finish. But we have to perform well every step of the way to capitalize on salvaging as many points as possible. Making the playoffs is a big deal, and we’re certainly focused on it. — Joe Gibbs Racing driver #20 Christopher Bell
• “With the speed we had at the LA Coliseum for The Clash at the start of the season, we’re very intrigued and curious to see how the speed we had on a short track very similar to Martinsville’s shape and incline would translated as the larger of the two racetracks With this new car we saw that at Richmond in particular, that with a similar tire it looked a lot more like last year’s car than at other races I guess the tire isn’t much different, haven’t heard anything about the tire yet, if it stays close enough I think the race will also go like the races with the last car Richmond is still a long race filled with plenty of opportunities to make a mistake that really changes the outcome of your day, it will also be this weekend in Martinsville Hopefully our setup is good for Saturday, and we can take the things we have learned from Richmond and put them in our plans. Track position and staying ahead all day is going to be very important. Other than that, we just have to keep running clean runs and making the most of our days. — Richard Childress Racing driver #8 Tyler Reddick