Hamlin, Johnson look to ring at Martinsville again

Martinsville Speedway has been known for two things recently. Close racing and the dominance of Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson.

Combined the two have won 10 times, including the last 9 events. Hamlin has won the last three races at Martinsville and has 4 career victories at the paper clip, while Johnson has 6 of his own. Only Jeff Gordon (7) has more victories but his last came in the fall of 2005.

Johnson has an average finish of 5.3, Hamlin’s is 6.1. Of active drivers who have made three or more starts only Jeff Gordon’s 7.1 is better then an average of 13th. Johnson has won 33% of the races he’s been in at Martinsville (6/11), Hamlin is even better winning 4/11 for a 36% win clip.

Since Jeff Gordon was mentioned a few times up above it’s worth saying he should be a contender again today. Prior to last year’s 20th place run in the fall Gordon had 11 straight top-5’s and had recorded 13 of his last 15 races inside of the top-5. The two other finishes were 6th and 9th.

After those three the drop when comparing the numbers is huge. But like any other track there are others who could steal the show.

Joey Logano is the driver with that 13th place average finish in his four starts. He starts 4th today and is looking for anything to turn his season around. Logano has been snake bitten to start the season but is coming to the track in which he finished 2nd and 6th last season.

The Ford of Carl Edwards is hoping to run up front. Edwards finished 8th in both races last season and has finished inside the top-10 in four of his last six starts. Much like Edwards can you every truly count Kyle Busch out? In his last three starts he’s been 4th, 22nd, and 4th. Neither has even won at Martinsville but both have to feel that they could win at an track right now.

Others worth taking a flyer on in fantasy leagues are Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt and the two cars who start at the front of the field Jamie McMurray and Ryan Newman.

It’s been a difficult place for Greg Biffle who has just two top-10’s in 16 starts. Despite a win here Kurt Busch has seen his share of problems and even Kevin Harvick has seen his day either be solid or awful.