Auto Racing: Martinsville Next In Nascar's Short Track Spree

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands celebrates after he won the Formula One Grand Prix it in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, Sunday, March 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands celebrates after he won the Formula One Grand Prix it in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, Sunday, March 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
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NASCAR CUP SERIES

Blu-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 400

Site: Martinsville, Virginia.

Schedule: Friday, practice, 4:30 p.m., and qualifying, 5:05 p.m.; Saturday, race, 7:30 p.m. (FS1)

Track: Martinsville Speedway.

Race distance: 400 laps, 210 miles.

Last year: Martin Truex Jr. won after starting seventh.

Last race: Denny Hamlin passed William Byron with five laps to go at Richmond and became the seventh different driver to win through seven races.

Fast facts: Hamlin also ended a 12-race winning streak for drivers under age 30. ... The victory was the sixth in the last eight races for Joe Gibbs Racing on the 0.75-mile oval and the third in a row at the track in which all four JGR drivers finished in the top 10. ... None of the top three in the point standings (Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott, tied for first), and Truex have won a race yet this year. ... The point standings range of winners goes from Byron (fourth) to Hamlin (20th).

Next race: April 17, Bristol, Tennessee.

Online: http://www.nascar.com

NASCAR XFINITY SERIES

Call 811 Before You Dig 250 powered by Call 811.com

Site: Martinsville, Virginia.

Schedule: Thursday, practice, 5:30 p.m., and qualifying, 6 p.m.; Friday, race, 7:30 p.m. (FS1)

Track: Martinsville, Virginia.

Race distance: 250 laps, 131.5 miles.

Last year: Josh Berry won after starting 29th, the deepest starting spot of any race winner in the series all season.

Last race: Ty Gibbs bumped Joe Gibbs Racing teammate John Hunter Nemechek off the lead on the final lap for his third victory through seven races.

Fast facts: Dale Earnhardt Jr., the series champion in 1998 and 1999, will make his return to the series. ... Nemechek (135) and Gibbs (114) combined to lead all but one lap at Richmond; Berry led the other. ... Gibbs led a total of seven laps in his first two victories of the season. ... Sam Mayer won the $100,000 Dash4Cash bonus. He, Gibbs, A.J. Allmendinger and Riley Herbst will be eligible for the bonus at Martinsville.

Next race: April 23, Talladega, Alabama.

Online: http://www.nascar.com

NASCAR TRUCK SERIES

Blu-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 200

Site: Martinsville, Virginia.

Schedule: Thursday, practice, 3 p.m., qualifying, 3:30 p.m., and race, 8 p.m. (FS1)

Track: Martinsville Speedway.

Race distance: 200 laps, 105 miles.

Last year: Zane Smith won the penultimate race of the season, the only series stop at Martinsville last year, after starting ninth.

Last race: Corey Heim passed Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate Chandler Smith on the last lap and won at Atlanta, his first career victory in just his fifth career start.

Fast facts: Zane Smith became the series’ first two-time winner through just four races, but he’s just fourth in points behind Chandler Smith, Ben Rhodes and Stewart Friesen. ... Chander Smith, Rhodes and Zane Smith each have three top-five finishes. ... Nemechek has led a series-high 85 laps, but has only one top-five finish and is eighth in points.

Next race: April 16, Bristol, Tennessee.

Online: http://www.nascar.com

FORMULA ONE

Australian Grand Prix

Site: Melbourne, Australia.

Schedule: Thursday, practice, 11 p.m.; Friday, practice, 2 p.m. and 11 p.m.; Saturday, qualifying, 2 p.m.; Sunday, race, 1 p.m. (ESPN)

Track: Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit.

Race distance: 58 laps, 190.1 miles.

Last year: Did not race (pandemic).

Last race: Defending series champion Max Verstappen passed Charles Leclerc after a wheel-to-wheel duel on lap 47 of 50 to win in Saudi Arabia.

Fast Facts: The race is back on the schedule after a two-year hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic. ... Verstappen's victory was the 21st of his career. ... Leclerc and third-place Carlos Sainz are 1-2 in the point standings after giving Ferrari two spots on the podium for the second race in a row. ... Aston Martin says Sebastian Vettel will make his season debut after recovering from COVID-19.

Next race: April 24, Imola, Italy.

Online: http://www.formula1.com

INDYCAR

Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach

Site: Long Beach, California.

Schedule: Friday, practice, 6:15 p.m.; Saturday, practice, 11:45 a.m., and qualifying, 3:05 p.m.-3:55 p.m.; Sunday, race, 3:30 p.m. (NBC)

Track: Long Beach street circuit.

Race distance: 85 laps, 167.28 miles.

Last year: Colton Herta won after starting 14th in the final race of the season.

Last race: Josef Newgarden passed teammate Scott McLaughlin in the final turn at Texas to give Team Penske victories in the season’s first two races.

Fast facts: Scott McLaughlin is the points leader with a victory, a runner-up finish and a pole through two races. Will Power and Alex Palou are next in points, followed by Newgarden. ... The other pole winner, Felix Rosenqvist, is 19th in points. ... The series will take the next two weeks off after the race.

Next race: May 1, Birmingham, Alabama.

Online: http://www.indycar.com

NHRA DRAG RACING

Last event: Brittany Force won in Top Fuel and Ron Capps won in Funny Car at Las Vegas.

Next event: April 24, Baytown, Texas.

Online: http://www.nhra.com

WORLD OF OUTLAWS

Next events: Friday, Osborn, Missouri, and Saturday, Eldon, Missouri.

Online: http://worldofoutlaws.com/sprintcars

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