MARTINSVILLE RECORD: 16 career starts, 0 wins, 7 top-five, 8 top-10s, 0 poles. Best career finish: Second in fall 2012. Finished 36th in last year's spring race, but bounced back to finish a career-high runner-up in the fall race there.
LOOKING AHEAD: Busch has won at Bristol and Richmond, but never at Martinsville. Coming off a win at the two-mile track at Fontana, he's looking to finally scratch Martinsville off his "must win" list of tracks. Busch is eyeing a second straight win Sunday: "I certainly hope so. We were so close last fall and right on Jimmie's (Johnson) bumper for the win. I've led a bunch of laps there, but we just haven't been able to hold it for the end of the 500 laps."
LOOKING BACK: Busch dominated to win at Fontana, his 25th career Cup victory. He had a car that was the class of the field and continually kept his challengers at bay throughout the race.
ETC.: Busch has completed 95.6 percent (7,684) of the 8,034 total laps contested in 16 career starts at Martinsville. His average start is 13.9 and average finish is 16.8. He has one DNF there.
5 KASEY KAHNE, Chevrolet
Team: Hendrick Motorsports
WHERE HE STANDS: Kasey Kahne remained in seventh place in the standings after Fontana. He trails points leader and teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. by 40 points, is one point behind sixth-ranked Kyle Busch and leads eighth-ranked Paul Menard by five points.
MARTINSVILLE RECORD: 18 career starts, 0 wins, 2 top-five, 3 top-10s, 1 poles. Best career finish: Second in spring 2005. Finished 38th in last year's spring race, but rebounded to finish third in the fall race there.
LOOKING AHEAD: Much like fellow drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr., Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards, all who cut their racing teeth on short tracks, Kahne has not been able to solve the puzzle that has been Martinsville Speedway. Here's Kahne's thoughts on Sunday's race: "Just having Jimmie (Johnson), Jeff (Gordon) and Dale (Earnhardt, Jr.) as my teammates, those guys run really well there. Being part of Hendrick Motorsports, they bring a really nice package to that track. Last year was the best I've ever ran there, the most comfortable I've been and I feel like it will be like that again this year just because of the guys I'm surrounded with. That was one of my hardest tracks and now I'm feeling like I'm figuring it out and I think it's because of those guys and listening and learning from them."
LOOKING BACK: Kahne had a competitive car at Fontana, but wasn't able to win a second straight race, having captured the checkered flag the week before at Bristol. Kahne ultimately finished ninth at Fontana.
ETC.: Kahne has completed 92.1 percent (8,324) of the 9,034 total laps contested in 18 career starts at Martinsville. His average start is 19.2 and average finish is 20.7. He has four DNFs there.
27 PAUL MENARD, Chevrolet
Team: Richard Childress Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: Paul Menard continues to be one of the biggest surprises of the season, and is now in eighth place after Fontana. He is 45 points behind points leader Dale Earnhardt Jr., five points behind seventh-ranked Kasey Kahne and leads ninth-ranked Joey Logano by eight points.
MARTINSVILLE RECORD: 11 career starts, 0 wins, 0 top-five, 0 top-10s, 0 poles. Best career finish: 12th in fall 2012. Finished 26th in last year's spring race and was 12th in the fall race there.
LOOKING AHEAD: Menard has struggled at Martinsville throughout his career, but given the start he's had this season, might he have a breakthrough race there Sunday? Here's Menard's thoughts: "After having a weekend off, I'm ready to get back to racing. We had some great momentum with a string of top-10's before the break, so I'm hoping to keep that going this weekend. It's difficult to pass at Martinsville because everyone is fighting for the bottom groove. Sometimes it feels like bumper cars out there, but it's a fun track to drive. Qualifying and pit strategy are key because track position is so important at Martinsville. It's going to be all about survival on Sunday."
LOOKING BACK: Menard finished eighth at Fontana, paced himself, stayed out of trouble and hung around the top 10 for much of the event. He didn't have a great car, but he got as good of a finish as he could, which says a lot about Menard and his team.
ETC.: Menard has completed 95.4 percent (5,279) of the 5,534 total laps contested in 11 career starts at Martinsville. His average start is a mediocre 22.1 and average finish isn't much better at 22.0. He has one DNF there.
22 JOEY LOGANO, Ford
Team: Penske Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: Joey Logano climbed into the top 10, improving from 12th to ninth after Fontana. He trails points leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. by 53 points, is eight points behind eighth-ranked Paul Menard and leads 10th-ranked Denny Hamlin by one point.
MARTINSVILLE RECORD: Eight career starts, 0 wins, 1 top-five, 2 top-10s, 0 poles. Best career finish: second in spring 2010. Finished 23rd in last year's spring race and was 16th in the fall race there.
LOOKING AHEAD: Logano proved he's ready for prime time with a strong third place finish at Fontana. However, Martinsville has not been one of his stronger tracks. Still, with the momentum gained from both his finish at Fontana and the resulting week off, Logano has the potential to have a strong run Sunday. Here's his thoughts: "You have to always look forward in this sport. If you linger on things, you will only go so far. So I've been focusing on Martinsville from the time we left California. It was good that we had an off weekend so everyone got a little rest before the upcoming stretch of races, but with the way we have been running, I want to keep the momentum going. So I'm ready to get back at it and move on. I know our team is ready to keep racing as well."
LOOKING BEHIND: Logano finished third at Fontana, but not without significant controversy. Tony Stewart chewed out Logano after a bad restart near the end of the race blocked Stewart from getting past Logano. And then there was the highly publicized wreck between Logano and Denny Hamlin, where Hamlin wrecked viciously and suffered a fractured disc that will likely keep him out for several races.
ETC.: Logano has completed 99.8 percent (4,015) of the 4,024 total laps contested in eight career starts at Martinsville. His average start is 16.2 and average finish is 15.2. He has zero DNFs there.
11 DENNY HAMLIN, Toyota
Team: Joe Gibbs Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: Denny Hamlin dropped four spots after Fontana, meaning he has now lost six spots in the last two races. He trails points leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. by 54 points, trails ninth-ranked Joey Logan by one point and leads 11th-ranked Matt Kenseth by four points.
MARTINSVILLE RECORD: 15 career starts, 4 wins, 9 top-fives, 12 top-10s, 2 poles. Best career finish: First in spring 2008, fall 2009, spring 2010 and fall 2010. Finished sixth in last year's spring race, but fell to 33rd in the fall race.
LOOKING AHEAD: With Hamlin to be sidelined four to six weeks with a lower back injury, Mark Martin steps in to replace Hamlin this Sunday in the No. 11 FedEx Toyota at Martinsville, who is being "loaned" to Joe Gibbs Racing for one race. Brian Vickers will replace Hamlin next week at Texas and potentially more races going forward from there. Martin has had an exceptional career at Martinsville with 48 starts, two wins, 12 top-fives, 25 top-10s and three poles. His average start is 14th and average finish is 13th. Here's team owner Michael Waltrip's thoughts on "loaning" Martin to replace Hamlin this Sunday: "I think it is great that a driver of Mark's caliber is available to support our fellow Toyota team during this difficult time for them. We wish Denny a speedy recovery."
Said Hamlin's crew chief, Darian Grubb, on working with Martin: "Obviously, our primary concern is getting Denny healed up and back in the FedEx car when he's ready. We have to thank Mark and Brian (Vickers) for filling in these next few weeks, and we believe that we can be just as competitive, run up front and win races. Our team is a strong, tight-knit group, and this will bring us even closer together. The goal is to move the No. 11 car up in the owner's standings in the next few races, and when Denny returns, do everything in our power to get both him and our team in the Chase."
LOOKING BACK: Hamlin had the worst wreck of his career at Fontana, suffering a fracture of the L1 disc in his back after crashing with Joey Logano, who got the better of the incident, still managing to recover to finish third. Hamlin, meanwhile, went from what looked like an assured top-five finish to end up 25th. Even worse, he wound up in the hospital and will likely miss the next several weeks recovering from his injury.
ETC.: Hamlin has completed 97.0 percent (7,307) of the 7,534 total laps contested in 15 career starts at Martinsville. His average start is 10.9 and average finish is an outstanding 8.2. He has one DNF there.
Driver Capsules - Week of April 2, 2013
20 MATT KENSETH, Toyota
Team: Joe Gibbs Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 11th, only four points out of the top 10.
MARTINSVILLE RECORD: Finished fourth in the spring race a year ago for his eighth top-10 finish in 26 starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Kenseth said, "Martinsville has typically been one of my weaker tracks, but Joe Gibbs Racing has a great record there, so I'm looking forward to seeing if I can do better with these JGR cars and set-ups. It's been a track where I feel like I was getting better at the last few years, but it's always been a place where it's difficult for me to tell the team what I need in my race car."
LOOKING BACK: Kenseth finished seventh at Auto Club Speedway to gain two spots in the standings.