Martinsville Hosts FS1’s First NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES Race of the Season

Gordon Returns to Martinsville to Call Race at Track that Marked His Final NASCAR Win

After a week off in observance of Easter, NASCAR is back this weekend at Martinsville Speedway with FS1’s first NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES race of 2016. The network, which airs six Sprint Cup Series races this season, offers a NASCAR doubleheader from the half-mile “paperclip” that also includes the third NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES race of the season (Saturday, April 2 at 2:30 PM ET), the series’ first outing since Feb. 27 at Atlanta.

On Sunday, April 3 (1:00 PM ET), Mike Joy leads the FOX NASCAR booth from Martinsville with analysis from NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip, four-time champ Jeff Gordon and former crew chief Larry McReynolds. Jamie Little, Vince Welch and Matt Yocum cover pit road. Chris Myers hosts the network’s pre-race coverage on NASCAR RACEDAY, beginning at 11:30 AM ET, alongside analysts Michael Waltrip, Gordon and Darrell Waltrip.

Welch calls NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES action alongside analysts Phil Parsons and Michael Waltrip, with pit reporting by Hermie Sadler and Kaitlyn Vincie. NCWTS SETUP, hosted by John Roberts and two-time series champ Todd Bodine, sets the stage for the Truck Series race at 2:00 PM ET on FS1.

Below are quotes from FOX NASCAR’s Gordon, Jeff Hammond, McReynolds and Darrell Waltrip on the week’s headlines and the race ahead, as well as the full FOX NASCAR programming schedule from Martinsville Speedway:

On his 2015 Martinsville win that locked him into the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup in his final season as a driver:

“That win – I don’t know if I can really truly put in words what that win meant to me personally or professionally. That emotion and excitement was completely raw because we had to have a win, I felt like, at Martinsville to not only finish the season off with a win but to get to Homestead. Those next couple of races were going to be tough for us. To seize that moment and to feel what it was like to know you’re going to Homestead in your final season, your final race … the kids coming up and the excitement of Ingrid and the kids and the whole team, unbelievable. Probably one of the coolest fan experiences that I’ve ever had in my career, and to do that in your final win and with such a significant win, was a moment that really I don’t think I can describe.”

--Jeff Gordon

On fan reaction to his win at Martinsville in October 2015:

“It was incredible – the energy, excitement coming from them. It was in me for the next three weeks.”

--Jeff Gordon

On how many more wins can Jimmie Johnson get before he retires after surpassing Dale Earnhardt (76) in career wins at Auto Club Speedway:

“Every driver, Jeff Gordon included, who starts getting that far up in wins would like to win at least seven championships – even eight – and become the all-time record holder. If they deny it, they’re lying. For every driver in my era, the magic number was 100. I wanted 100 wins. Jeff (Gordon) wanted 100 and Jimmie probably feels the same way. With his good health and the top physical condition he’s in – heck, he can ride a bike from end of the world to the other – coupled with a team that’s almost unbeatable, it’s certainly not outside the realm of possibility for Jimmie.”

--Darrell Waltrip

On whether Jimmie Johnson could match Cale Yarborough in wins (83) this year, particularly with his stronger tracks, like Martinsville and Dover, on the horizon:

“Maybe not this year but definitely in the near future. It’s hard to win six or eight races in one year, but anything is possible for Jimmie and the No. 48 team. They’ve got their act together and the car is good right now, so Jimmie could definitely end up passing me and Bobby (Allison) if things go right for him.”

--Darrell Waltrip (84 career wins; tied with Bobby Allison for fourth on all-time wins list)

On how reaching a milestone (such as passing Dale Earnhardt Sr. in career wins) motivates a driver to achieve the next milestone:

“When you break a record like Jimmie (Johnson) did (at Auto Club Speedway) and are reaching milestones, you realize those next goals are not unattainable. With another win, you gain more confidence that you might be able to do it again. It’s not just catching Cale (Yarborough; 83) in race wins now, though. Jimmie wants to win seven or eight championships. But it’s not just Jimmie – I bet Chad Knaus wants to win eight championships because Dale Inman has eight. And Jimmie probably would like to win 100 races.”

--Darrell Waltrip

On what it takes to succeed at Martinsville:

“It’s not the hard-charging driver who typically wins at Martinsville because the track probably requires more finesse than any other NASCAR track other than a road course. Drivers who succeed at Martinsville know this. Over-driving Martinsville can wreck your day, so a driver oftentimes is his/her own worst enemy there.”

--Larry McReynolds

On the favorite to win at Martinsville:

“The favorites will be Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin because both have always run well there and won multiple times. However, several drivers and teams have stepped up their games because not only is Martinsville important this weekend, it becomes even more so as one of the 10 Chase races.”

--Larry McReynolds

On Kyle Busch being fined for failing to appear in the media center, as required, at Auto Club Speedway following the March 20 NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES race:

“I applaud his passion. Nobody in the garage has more passion for what they do than Kyle Busch. I feel his frustration after dominating the race on Saturday (NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Auto Club Speedway) and losing a tire on the last lap. Then he lost a tire with two laps to go on Sunday going for his ninth consecutive top-five finish. But he is the Sprint Cup Series champion -- the face of our sport -- and saying and doing things like this is not the way to represent the sport. The things he said on the radio that NASCAR is rigging races offends me, and I know it has to offend NASCAR. If anyone had the right to decline interviews, it was Kevin Harvick after dominating and then losing the race. But he gave the interview because Kevin Harvick fans want to hear what he has to say. Kyle Busch has to realize his fans want to hear what he has to say, win, lose or draw.”

--Larry McReynolds


*All times live/Eastern unless otherwise indicated & subject to change

Friday, April 1

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice (10:00-11:00 AM) (FS1)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice (11:00 AM-12:30 PM) (FS1)

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice (12:30-2:00 PM) (FS1)

NASCAR RACE HUB (2:00-3:00 PM ET) (FS1)

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series final practice (3:00-4:00 PM) (FS1)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying (4:00-5:30 PM) (FS1)

Saturday, April 2

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice (10:00 AM-11:00 AM) (FS1)

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series qualifying (11:00 AM-12:30 PM) (FS1)

NASCAR RACE HUB (12:30-1:00 PM ET) (FS1)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice (1:00-2:00 PM) (FS1)

NCWTS SETUP (2:00-2:30 PM) (FS1)

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Racing (2:30-5:00 PM) (FS1)

Sunday, April 3

NASCAR RACEDAY (11:30 AM-1:00 PM) (FS1)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Racing (1:00-5:00 PM) (FS1)

Note: *Live NHRA coverage from Las Vegas follows NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES race coverage on FS1 at 5:00 PM ET.

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