StatChat - Nascar Cup Series @ Martinsville

After the race weekend that refused to end in Texas, a non-playoff driver victory meant that the playoff picture was still very much up in the air heading into Martinsville this Sunday. A minimum of 2 drivers will now make the Final 4 on points alone. Who has the advantage heading into this weekend? Let’s take a closer look:

Martinsville Speedway is a 0.526 mile short-track oval – the shortest track currently on the NASCAR circuit. This weekend’s race will (confusingly) be called the Xfinity 500. Martinsville is the only current track that has been on the NASCAR schedule every year since its inception, having been built in 1947. Nicknamed “The Paperclip,” it is also unique in that it’s the only NASCAR track to have asphalt straightaways with concrete in the corners.

The race will be 500 laps long (for a total of 263 miles), with stage breaks occurring at 130 – 260 – 500. The fuel window is approximately 145-155 laps, though tire wear will likely result in drivers pitting sooner than that.

This year, the Cup Series has now raced a total of 12,938.83 miles.

Top 5 Career Average Finishers at Martinsville:

Jimmie Johnson

9.32 over 37 races

Denny Hamlin

9.90 over 29 races

Brad Keselowski

10.48 over 21 races

Ryan Blaney

11.67 over 9 races

Kyle Busch

12.30 over 30 races

Bottom 5 Career Average Finishers at Martinsville:

Joey Gase

35.33 over 3 races

JJ Yeley

31.78 over 18 races

Ross Chastain

30.25 over 4 races

Michael McDowell

29.84 over 19 races

Matt DiBenedetto

27.91 over 11 races

Martinsville is classified as a short track. A short track is seen as anything under 1 mile in length.

Top 5 Career Average Finishers at Short Tracks

Kyle Busch

11.63 over 150 races

Denny Hamlin

11.88 over 144 races

Brad Keselowski

12.69 over 107 races

Jimmie Johnson

13.02 over 186 races

Kevin Harvick

13.23 over 196 races

Richard Petty is the winningest driver at Martinsville, having won 15 times over the course of his career, with Darrell Waltrip alone in 2nd with 11 wins. As far as active drivers go, Jimmie Johnson has 9 wins, and Denny Hamlin has 5.

Notable drivers who have not won at Martinsville:

Matt Kenseth

(has won at 18 other tracks)

Chase Elliott

(has won at 6 other tracks)

No current drivers list Martinsville as either their worst track or their best track.

Based on their point pace, let’s have a look at who’s having a better year than last year.

Drivers Faring Better than in 2019

Matt DiBenedetto

+210 pts

Chase Elliott

+164 pts

Austin Dillon

+138 pts

Kevin Harvick

+122 pts

Bubba Wallace

+115 pts

Drivers Faring Worse than in 2019

Daniel Suarez

-476 pts

Kyle Busch

-255 pts

Joey Logano

-98 pts

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

-74 pts

William Byron

-68 pts

While some drivers may be doing better this year than they did in 2019, how does this year stack up against their entire career? This statistic does not include rookies, as this is their first full year in the Cup Series.

Drivers Having their BEST Career Year

Kevin Harvick


Denny Hamlin


Matt DiBenedetto


Michael McDowell


Bubba Wallace


Corey LaJoie


Drivers Having their WORST Career Year

Daniel Suarez


Ryan Preece


Matt Kenseth


For those that aren’t aware, the Manufacturer Standings are calculated by awarding points to the highest finisher for each manufacturer according to their finishing position. (40 for 1st, 35 for 2nd, 34 for 3rd, etc.) No stage points or playoff points count.

Manufacturer Standings