Jeff Gordon – If you play NASCAR trivia games and a question comes up about Jeff Gordon, guess Martinsville. It will go down in the history books as the site of his last win, and his last race. In his career at Martinsville Jeff Gordon has 9 wins, has finished in the top five 63% percent of the time, the top ten 80% percent of the time, has led 3,779 laps and has a 6.8 average finish. The fall Martinsville race has been very friendly to him because in the last three events he’s finished in the top two. Last fall after all the carnage ensued he was able to capitalize on the situation and race his way to victory lane. Also in the race it should be noted he earned the best driver rating, had a 4th place average running position and led 35 laps. In the five Martinsville races prior to that he had results of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 9th and 12th. In Gordon’s last five races in the #88 car he has a 13.0 average finish. On Sunday look for Jeff Gordon to compete for a top ten and be Top Tier Elite Picks good.
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Chase Elliott – Chase Elliott now has two races under his belt at Martinsville. I think the combination of having more experience and Hendrick Motorsports performing at a higher level then they did in the spring will be positive for him. That said I think he’ll likely be a low-double digit performer. Martinsville is a track that requires “contact” and that’s not a strong suite of his. This spring he didn’t have a great race. He finished 20th and had a 20th place average running position. In spring 2015 Chase Elliott made his Sprint Cup debut. He started in 27th and finished 38th. I can’t estimate how good he was because he had trouble so early. On lap 64 he was involved in an accordion effect wreck and following that he no longer had power steering. By lap 80 he was in the garage area for repairs. This year at short tracks Elliott has a 14.0 average finish.
Ryan Blaney – I don’t think Martinsville will prove to be a good track for Ryan Blaney for a couple of years. It’s a contact track and I don’t think it’s something he’s comfortable with. In the Sprint Cup series he has one start under his belt at “The Paper Clip.” This spring he started 12th, had a 15th place average running position and finished 19th. In the Truck Series Blaney he has five starts under his belt and has a 7.8 average finish. In four of his five starts he’s finished in the top ten. In his last three starts here in the Trucks he’s finished 5th.