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Race 6 – Goody’s Cool Orange 500 at Martinsville Preview

Posted by chadmusselman on March 29, 2008

Kyle Busch is leading the points chase by 30 points over Greg Biffle. Historically Busch has done very well at Martinsville. He’s finished in the top 5 in his last four races here. He’s definitely the driver to beat in NASCAR right now, and every time he goes out to race he can win. This week is no exception. Expect Busch to be contending for the lead the entire race, and don’t be surprised to see him take home the checkered flag.

Ryan Newman, the Daytona 500 winner, was having a solid season, but slipped a little after last week’s disappointing 33rd place finish. He dropped 4 spots in the standings, down to 8th place. Will the week off allow him to regain the focus and be ready for this week’s race? He’s only finished in the top 10 at Martinsville once in the last 4 races here. That was a 2nd place finish in the Fall of ’07 race. I’ll be cheering for Newman since he’s a Purdue grad, but I don’t have a good feeling about this race. He did qualify 13th, which isn’t bad, but he’ll need to do some good driving and stay clean to have a shot at a top 10 finish, which isn’t really his specialty.

The big mover in the point standings the past couple weeks has been Clint Bowyer. After 3 races he was in 23rd place. After a 6th place finish at Atlanta he moved up to 16th, and after a 3rd place finish in Bristol he moved up to 9th. Can he continue his hot streak and gain more spots in the championship standings? He’s finished 11th and 9th in his last two races at Martinsville, and qualified 12th this week, so he could do well.

Four drivers with a real shot to win. I know there’s not much creativity in picking the favorites, but you have to go with who you really think will finish well.
· Jimmy Johnson – Won last 3, and finished 3rd in spring ’06. This should be the week he gets back on track. A 10th place starting spot should help with that.
· Jeff Gordon – 3rd, 2nd, 5th, 2nd in last 4, and the pole position for this week’s race. He’ll be tough to beat.
· Kyle Busch – 4th, 4th, 5th in 3 of last 4. 8th place qualifying spot. Has this guy had a bad showing yet this year?
· Denny Hamlin – 6th, 3rd, 2nd in last 3. Qualified 2nd and should be a contender all day.

Two others that should do well:
· Kevin Harvick – 10th, 9th, 7th in 3 of last 4. Qualified 11th. Kevin is always a threat to win, and should be running up front in this race.
· Tony Stewart – 7th, 4th, 1st in 3 of last 4. Starting in the 9th position should help Smoke get his 4th top 10 finish in 5 trips to Martinsville.

Darkhorse of the race:
· Jamie McMurray – Has 2 top 10 finishes in his last 4 at Martinsville and qualified 5th. Hopefully he’ll be able to break out of the awful slump he’s in.

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