On the subject of Dale Earnhardt Jr., his winless record at Martinsville belies the fact that it’s one of his best tracks. And as far as driver rating is concerned, it’s the best for him, with a 98.9 number – fourth-highest in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Martinsville.
This can more-or-less be viewed as a microcosm of Earnhardt’s career – lots of strong runs but surprisingly few victories. At Martinsville, a breakthrough appears imminent, especially considering his strong start to this season.
Earnhardt, second in series points behind Carl Edwards (186 to 185), has five top-10 runs in his last seven Martinsville starts. His overall statistics showing 10 top fives and 15 top 10s in 28 Martinsville races – that’s why Earnhardt has the solid driver rating at a track that has kept many drivers, over the course of many years, from visiting Victory Lane. This success is perhaps indicative of Earnhardt’s affection for short-track racing, which he reminded people of two weeks at Bristol Motor Speedway, saying, “this is where it’s at.”
Earnhardt finished eighth last fall at Martinsville, during a late-season rush that formed the foundation for his immediate rise to contention this year.But he’ll be looking for better luck than he had a year ago at Martinsville’s spring race when he came in leading the series standings but finished 24th and lost the lead to Jimmie Johnson.