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NASCAR Cup: Martinsville Speedway test concludes

Ryan Blaney during a NASCAR organizational test at Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 10, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).

Ryan Blaney during a NASCAR organizational test at Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 10, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).

By AMANDA VINCENT

In preparation for the Oct. 29 First Data 500 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, the first race in the third round, or round of eight, in the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, NASCAR conducted a two-day test at Martinsville on Tuesday and Wednesday. Twelve drivers, including seven of the 12 remaining playoff competitors, participated.

Playoff drivers participating in the tests with their respective race teams included Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford), Kyle Larson (No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet), Kyle Busch (No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota), Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Team Penske Ford), Chase Elliott (No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet), Ryan Blaney (No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford).

“Just knowledge,” Blaney said of what he learned in the test. “That’s the biggest thing any team tries to gain here.  I’m glad we can have an open test; they’re very nice to have.  We can come and try things we wouldn’t typically try each weekend just because we have a lot more time here to do these long changes and have as many sets of tires as we need, so that part is nice.  Just try to learn off of the spring race.  I thought we were pretty decent, actually, in the first race here.  We got in some trouble towards the three-quarter mark of the race.  This hasn’t been my best track, but I feel I’ve gotten a little bit better here as we’ve raced here, but I’m just learning things and trying to build a notebook.  I think that’s what it’s all about.”

Blaney finished 25th at Martinsville earlier this year.

Already eliminated playoff driver, Austin Dillon (No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet), along with Ty Dillon (No. 13 Germain Racing Chevrolet) also participated in the test. Landon Cassill, Drew Herring and Alex Bowman drove test cars for the three manufacturers.

According to Larson, he struggled at the test, just as he did when the series race at Martinsville earlier this season.

“I learned that I still struggle at Martinsville,” Larson told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “Martinsville is a tough race track for me for some reason. I can get around the track, but it seems like I can’t go as fast throughout a whole run like a Kyle Busch can, or Keselowski, or someone that’s really good at Martinsville. I seem to go fast for 10 laps without really trying. I feel like I’m taking care of my stuff, but I just fall off.”

Larson finished 17th at Martinsville earlier this season after starting on the pole and leading 23 laps.

The second round, or round of 12, continues Oct. 15 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway and concludes Oct. 22 at Kansas Speedway near Kansas City, where the playoff field will be reduced from 12 to eight drivers.

Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook (facebook.com/nascarexaminer).

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Posted by on October 12, 2017. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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