Photo courtesy of SPEED SPORT
Ryan Blaney and his No. 12 Penske Ford will start on the pole tonight in Martinsville for the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500. If the young Blaney can parlay his pole position into a victory, it’ll be the fourth Ford to win at Martinsville in the last five races.
Previous winners include Brad Keselowski in 2019 and Joey Logano and Clint Bowyer in 2018. Logano and Keselowski are teammates of Blaney on the Penske Racing Team.
Wednesday’s Martinsville field includes 10 past Cup Series winners, one Xfinity Series winner and eight Gander Truck Series winners at Martinsville.
Joey Logano holds the Track Cup Series qualifying lap record of 18.898 seconds (100.201 miles per hour), set back on March 28, 2014. Logano also holds the Track Gander Truck Series qualifying lap record of 19.504 seconds (97.088 MPH), set exactly one year after his Cup Series qualifying lap record.
The field also boasts a couple all-time Martinsville Greats. Jimmie Johnson is the fourth-winningest driver at Martinsville with nine victories; Johnson also has the best average finishes among active drivers (eighth). Denny Hamlin comes in as the ninth-winningest driver at Martinsville, with five career victories.
Kevin Harvick will start 10th tonight. Harvick is currently the points leader and is coming off a QuikTrip 500 victory in Atlanta on Sunday.
The stakes are always high when the Cup Series runs at Martinsville; the winner’s trophy is among the best in all of sports: the coveted Longcase (Grandfather) Clock. Earning the prized grandfather clock is no easy feat, as the drivers have to navigate a “Half Mile of Mayhem”. Tonight’s race will be the first Cup Series night race at Martinsville.