Goody’s Fast Relief 500

MARTINSVILLE, VA - APRIL 03:  Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M's 75th Anniversary Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)

(Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)

Martinsville is one of the short, flat tracks. While they vary in length, Richmond International Raceway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and Phoenix International Raceway all share a similarity. In order to go fast on these tracks, drivers have to ease into the turns and accelerate at the apex. That was true last month in the Bad Boy Off Road 300 in New Hampshire and it will be the case two weeks from now in Arizona.

With three short, flat track races in the Chase, skill on this course type is imperative to winning the Championship on par with the similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks. Round three is significant because two of the short, flat track events can be found there—just as round two had a pair of “cookie-cutter” races. In between Martinsville and Phoenix, NASCAR visits the final similarly-configured, 1.5-mile track of Texas Motor Speedway. Despite being 1.5-miles in length, Homestead-Miami Speedway’s shape is unique and makes the Ford 400 inimitable.

Martinsville is also a short track. Along with Richmond, fantasy owners can look for inspiration to Bristol Motor Speedway. The high, progressively contoured banks on that track are certainly different than the 12 degrees of banking faced this week, but on both courses racers have to navigate heavy traffic.


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STP 500

Race fans get a treat for enduring an early-season off week.

NASCAR makes an all-too rare appearance at a short track this coming Sunday when they roll into Southern Virginia. Courses less than a mile in length once dominated the circuit, but 1.5- and two-mile tracks overwhelmed them and track owners turned their backs on the money making potential.

Martinsville Speedway is a throwback track in many ways. The facilities have been updated since it first ran a paved race in fall 1955. That spring and six years previously, this track was dirt and it is the oldest venue on the current NASCAR schedule. While tracks like Nashville Fairgrounds and North Wilkesboro Speedway failed to keep up with improvements needed to remain viable, Martinsville has walked a delicate tightrope of staying true to its roots while giving fans the conveniences they have grown to expect.