A sixth-place qualification effort on Friday could be the signal of a reversal of fortune for Tony Stewart. Last fall he finished fourth on this track after qualifying fourth.
Danica Patrick scored her second-best Martinsville start in Friday’s qualification session. She will roll off the grid 16th for Sunday’s STP 500.
Justin Allgaier completed all 1,000 laps of competition last year; he finished 23rd in the spring and was 17th in the fall.
Joey Logano posted a lap of 98.461 mph and grabbed the pole for the STP 500. It is the 10th pole of his career and his first at Martinsville.
Cole Custer leads the lone NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice session at Martinsville Speedway.
Casey Mears broke a transmission in the second round of qualification and will roll off the grid 24th. He will need to change his drive train, however, and that will drop him to the back of the pack.
Justin Allgaier advanced to the second round of qualification, but he wanted a little more. He crashed in that session and will qualify 21st.
A faulty seal and not a blown engine caused Austin Dillon’s Chevrolet to smoke in the final moments of NASCAR’s first practice session, according to a tweet by Bob Pockrass. He will not need to change engines.
Chase Elliott struggled a little in the first and only practice session before STP 500 qualification. His top speed of 96.337 mph was only 29th best. He must qualify in the top 36 to make the show since the No. 25 does not have any owner points.
Ryan Newman posted the fastest single lap in the first practice session for the STP 500. His top speed was 97.835 mph, which narrowly beat AJ Allmendinger with a 97.679 and Jeff Gordon with a 97.664.
Austin Dillon blew an engine in the final minutes of the first practice session at Martinsville. He was 15th fastest at the time.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has been running at the end of every Martinsville race he started, but in his first three attempts he failed to finish on the lead lap. Last fall, he finally went the complete distance and finished 15th.
Last week was the first time Ragan appeared comfortable behind the wheel of the No. 18. This week he returns to a track where he scored a top-10 in 2015.
Brett Moffitt will make his first start at Martinsville this week, but he has tasted success there in the past. He won the 2010 UNOH Performance 200 in the K&N East series.
Trevor Bayne has made one previous Cup start at Martinsville while racing for the Wood Bros. That came in 2011 when he finished 35th after qualifying 25th.
David Gilliland has finished better than he started in the last six consecutive races at Martinsville. He also improved over his qualification effort in three of the previous four events and was sidelined by crash damage in the one race in which he faded.
Johnny Sauter, who will be making his 15th start at the Martinsville Virginia track in Saturday afternoon's Kroger 250, has two wins at the "paperclip."
In March 2014, Matt Crafton started 10th, led a track-high 47 laps, and held off fellow Toyota Racing driver, Darrell Wallace, Jr., during a second attempt at a green-white-checker flag finish to claim his first victory at the half-mile paperclip Martinsville Speedway.
In 18 previous starts at the 0.526-mile Martinsville Speedway, Timothy Peters holds one win, six top-five finishes and 12 top-10 finishes.
Last year, Ben Kennedy recorded a career-best third-place finish in the Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway.