Martinsville tends to bring on paybacks

Kyle Busch (Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports)
Seems like someone is always left going the wrong way at Martinsville.
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Jeff Hammond

Jeff Hammond is a former NASCAR crew chief who led Darrell Waltrip to two of his three Sprint Cup championships. The duo also teamed up to win the 1989 Daytona 500. Prior to that, Hammond was the jackman for Cale Yarborough for all three of his Cup championships. He has 43 Sprint Cup wins as a crew chief. Follow him on Twitter.


We are racing in Martinsville, Va., this weekend, and everyone knows the short tracks are the places where the drivers get a little tougher on one another.


NASCAR on FOX brings live coverage of the Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway on Sunday. The green flag drops at 1 p.m. ET, with coverage on FOX beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET.

Old grudges and debts normally get settled at places like Martinsville, a half-mile oval. This is the kind of place that brings out the best of the worst and the worst of the best.

We’ll have 43 cars on the track come Sunday, and whoever those 43 drivers are have the ability to get involved in an altercation or a payback. It might be for a new feud or even an existing feud. Heck, for that matter it might be for a feud long forgotten.

Martinsville is non-denominational. It doesn’t discriminate on lending itself to starting, accelerating or continuing rivalries. I think it was great that the teams all got a weekend off for Easter, but after what we saw in California two weeks ago, I think we are in for a real treat this weekend.

Racing at Martinsville this weekend is like diving with the sharks. Martinsville is a small pond full of sharks, and it’s a matter of who is going to wind up drawing first blood. Who is going to run into someone who’s going to push them into someone else, which is going to set off a frenzy of emotions?

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The potential for momentary road rage is real and exists in biblical proportions at Martinsville. The bigger question: Will it happen, and when? That’s a big component of the excitement and anticipation when we go to Martinsville. It’s because we just don’t know what's going to happen.

We’ve gone there in the past anticipating a frenzy of paybacks among different drivers, only to see everyone remaining calm and giving us a somewhat calm race.

We’ve also gone there and the trouble starts on Lap 1 and there is no letup until Lap 500.

Which one will we get Sunday? All I can say is tune in Sunday to our NASCAR on FOX broadcast and find out.

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