Paperclip power: Trio of stars ready to shine on short track

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 will be competed at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. 

Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images

After a day of steady rain washed out all on-track activity at Martinsville Speedway, the Virginia short track will try again with a NASCAR Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck Series doubleheader Sunday.

The STP 500 Sprint Cup Series race is scheduled to roll off at 1 p.m. ET on FOX, with the Truck Series race scheduled for immediately afterward. 

Three drivers come into the Cup race as prohibitive favorites: Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon have eight race victories each at the 0.526-mile paperclip, while Denny Hamlin has four. Johnson, who qualified fourth, won this race last year, while fifth-place starter Gordon won the most recent Martinsville race last fall.

Today, Hamlin will start on the outside of Row 1, next to his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate and pole-sitter Kyle Busch.

Video: Hit the brakes at Martinsville

Although Busch has never won at Martinsville, he does have eight top-five finishes here, including top fives in two of the last three races. 

One interesting side note: Danica Patrick qualified 10th, her best result ever at a non-restrictor-plate track. Patrick finished 12th here last year and will be looking to improve on that result this time around. 

 

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