Hendrick Motorsports Previews Martinsville



No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS / Kasey Kahne

Driver Kasey Kahne   Hometown Enumclaw, Washington
Age 36                        Resides Mooresville, North Carolina

2017 Season

  • 13th in standings
  • 5 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 0 stage wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 2 top-10 finishes
  • 7 laps led


  • 473 starts
  • 17 wins
  • 27 pole positions
  • 90 top-five finishes
  • 171 top-10 finishes
  • 4,614 laps led

Track Career 

  • 26 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 5 top-10 finishes
  • 60 laps led
GREAT CLIPS: Kasey Kahne will pilot the No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. The event marks the second time this season Kahne has driven the black-and-red Chevrolet. His first outing with Great Clips as the primary partner was two weeks ago at Phoenix International Raceway where he finished 20th. The Minneapolis-based company will adorn the car eight additional times this season.

MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY: The 36-year-old has one pole award at the 0.526-mile track. In 2012, he edged Kevin Harvick to earn the top starting position after posting a 19.496-second lap. In last year’s spring race, Kahne started on the outside pole with a lap time of 19.515 seconds, just 0.002 shy of the pole-winning time. In Kahne’s 10 starts with Hendrick Motorsports at Martinsville, he has garnered five top-11 finishes, including most recently an 11th-place finish at the paperclip-shaped track in last year’s fall race. Kahne has led 60 laps at the Ridgeway, Virginia, track, which ranks him 14th among active drivers.

MARTINSVILLE LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR’s loop data since 2005, Kahne ranks fourth in the closers category with 22 positions improved over the last 10 percent of the race. He’s fifth for average speed late in run at 90.116 mph and eighth in the fastest laps run category with 281. Kahne sits ninth in green-flag passes with 1,130.

SHORT TRACK STATS: In Kahne’s last 10 starts at tracks less than one mile, he has one top-five finish and four top-10s, earning an average finishing position of 12.2. The Enumclaw, Washington, native has also completed 99.9 percent of the laps possible at the last 10 short tracks – only three other drivers have completed more laps than him.

GOING HOME: Nos. 5 and 24 teams manager Brian Whitesell returns to his home state of Virginia this weekend. Whitesell is a native of Stuarts Draft, which is located approximately two hours and 30 minutes northeast of Martinsville Speedway. The 52-year-old is a graduate of Virginia Tech with a degree in mechanical engineering.

No. 24 SunEnergy1 Chevrolet SS / Chase Elliott

Driver Chase Elliott   Hometown Dawsonville, Georgia
Age 21                      Resides Dawsonville, Georgia

2017 Season

  • 2nd in standings
  • 5 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 1 stage win
  • 1 pole position
  • 2 top-five finishes
  • 3 top-10 finishes
  • 149 laps led


  • 46 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 12 top-five finishes
  • 20 top-10 finishes
  • 507 laps led

Track Career 

  • 3 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 0 top-10 finishes
  • 0 laps led
SUNENERGY1 SEASON DEBUT: For the first time in the 2017 season, SunEnergy1, one of the world’s largest privately held solar energy companies, will adorn the hood of the No. 24 Chevrolet SS. This weekend’s race at Martinsville Speedway will be the first of four races that SunEnergy1 will serve as the primary sponsor for Chase Elliott.

MARTINSVILLE STATS: Elliott will make his fourth start at the 0.526-mile speedway. In 2015, he made his NASCAR Cup Series debut driving the No. 25 Chevrolet SS for Hendrick Motorsports at Martinsville. In three previous starts at the track, Elliott averages a starting position of 14.0 and finishing position of 23.3.

DOUBLE DUTY: In addition to his usual duties behind the wheel of the No. 24 Chevrolet SS in the Cup Series, Elliott will drive the No. 23 Chevrolet Silverado for GMS Racing in Saturday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. It will mark the 21-year-old driver’s second start in the No. 23 truck this season. He also competed at Atlanta Motor Speedway earlier this season, finishing fifth. Elliott’s Truck Series résumé includes one win, seven top-five finishes and nine top-10s in 12 starts. He earned the pole, led 109 laps and finished second last fall at Martinsville Speedway.

SO FAR THIS SEASON: In the first five races of the 2017 Cup Series season, Elliott has collected a pair of top-five finishes and three top-10s, led 149 laps and earned the pole award in the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway. He averages a starting and finishing position of 8.8 and has completed 100 percent of the 1,308 laps to date. Elliott is currently second in the driver point standings, 29 markers behind the leader.

CHASE U: Richmond International Raceway and Chase Elliott have partnered to bring a unique race day experience to college students called Chase University, better known as Chase U. For $24, current college students can enjoy a ticket to the NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday, April 30, with an exclusive college pre-race party and an appearance by the driver of the No. 24 himself. Chase U was launched by Elliott in October 2016 and was an immediate success bringing college students out to the racetrack. The college program combines all the elements of a perfect race day experience with live music, great food and beverages and tailgate games. The Chase U ticket package is available to all college students with a valid student ID and includes a grandstand ticket and access to the exclusive Chase U pre-race party. For more information click here

No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS / Jimmie Johnson

Driver Jimmie Johnson   Hometown El Cajon, California
Age 41                             Resides Charlotte, North Carolina

2017 Season

  • 17th in standings
  • 5 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 0 stage wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 1 top-10 finish
  • 28 laps led


  • 548 starts
  • 80 wins
  • 35 pole positions
  • 218 top-five finishes
  • 331 top-10 finishes
  • 18,474 laps led

Track Career 

  • 30 starts
  • 9 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 19 top-five finishes
  • 24 top-10 finishes
  • 2,838 laps led
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, will visit the Martinsville Speedway media center at 10:45 a.m. local time on Friday, March 31.

MARTINSVILLE STATS: According to NASCAR loop data since 2005, Jimmie Johnson has the series-best driver rating at Martinsville Speedway with a score of 117.7. The driver rating is a formula that combines wins, top-15 finishes, average running position while on the lead lap, average speed under green, fastest lap, most laps led and lead-lap finishes. The maximum a driver can earn in each race is 150 points. The driver rating number is used pre-race as a prediction tool and post-race as a performance evaluator. Johnson also has a series-best average running position of 7.990 and finishing position of 6.8 in that time span. Since 2005, Johnson has spent 85.8 percent of all laps run in the top 15 at the 0.526-mile track.

LAP LEADER: Johnson’s 2,838 laps led at Martinsville Speedway are the most among active drivers – 1,475 more than second place. The number ranks him fifth all-time at the paperclip-shaped oval.

LAST OCTOBER: Johnson punched his ticket into the championship round of the 2016 NASCAR playoffs on Oct. 30, when he crossed the finish line for his ninth career win at Martinsville. Johnson led 92 laps that day and went on to win the 2016 NASCAR Cup Series championship three weeks later at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

MASTERING THE PAPERCLIP: Forty-nine different NASCAR Cup Series drivers have won at Martinsville Speedway, led by Richard Petty with 15 victories. Johnson has the most wins among active drivers with nine victories. Former teammate Jeff Gordon also has nine wins. Johnson is also the most recent driver to win consecutive races (fall 2012 and spring 2013) at Martinsville.

GIFT OF THE CLOCK: The seven-time champion now has nine of the famous Ridgeway grandfather clocks, the trophies Martinsville Speedway gives to its race winners. During the postseason in December, Johnson was feeling the holiday spirit when he delivered his ninth clock directly to the home of Speedway Motorsports Inc. founder and chairman Bruton Smith. Johnson and Smith are longtime friends and Johnson felt it was a fitting gesture to gift the clock to Smith and make him smile.

HELMET OF HOPE: Voting continues for the 2017 Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope campaign until April 14. The campaign will award $125,000 to five non-profit organizations in May. The program, which began in 2008, allows fans and consumers across the country to nominate their favorite education-focused charities, including parent-teacher associations, to receive a $25,000 grant, a Blue Bunny ice cream party and special recognition on Johnson’s race helmet. Nominations will be accepted at www.helmetofhope.org and 10 semifinalists will be selected from the nominations. The public vote to choose the final five grant recipients will take place from May 5 to 12. Johnson will wear the Helmet of Hope during the NASCAR Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway on Aug. 13.

No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS / Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.   Hometown Kannapolis, North Carolina
Age 42                                Resides Mooresville, North Carolina

2017 Season

  • 21st in standings
  • 5 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 0 stage wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 0 top-10 finishes
  • 8 laps led


  • 600 starts
  • 26 wins
  • 13 pole positions
  • 148 top-five finishes
  • 252 top-10 finishes
  • 8,195 laps led

Track Career 

  • 33 starts
  • 1 win
  • 0 pole positions
  • 13 top-five finishes
  • 18 top-10 finishes
  • 972 laps led
ANOTHER CLOCK: Dale Earnhardt Jr. earned his first victory at the historic 0.526-mile Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 26, 2014. He held off former teammate and nine-time Martinsville winner Jeff Gordon to score the win, taking home the iconic grandfather clock that the speedway gives as its trophy. In the last 12 races at the paperclip-shaped oval, Earnhardt has earned five top-five finishes and eight top-10s, which bodes well for the 42-year-old veteran’s chances to capture his second grandfather clock this weekend.

MAKING PASSES: Earnhardt is one of the best drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series at Martinsville, and NASCAR’s loop data from 2005 to 2016 backs up that claim. He ranks first among active drivers in green-flag passes (1,393) and second to teammate Jimmie Johnson – by only one pass – in quality passes (817 to Johnson’s 818). Earnhardt ranks fourth among all active competitors with an average driver rating of 98.7. The driver rating is a formula that combines wins, top-15 finishes, average running position while on the lead lap, average speed under green, fastest lap, most laps led and lead-lap finishes. The maximum a driver can earn in each race is 150 points. The driver of the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS ranks third in several categories, including average running position (11.941), fastest laps run (576), average speed during a run (early – 92.697 mph; late – 90.187 mph), and green-flag speed (91.327 mph).

DRIVEN TO GIVE: The Dale Jr. Foundation’s successful Driven to Give Gloves program will return for 2017 and focus on four Patient Champions from Nationwide Children’s Hospital, as it did in 2016. Earnhardt’s race-worn gloves will be auctioned off to raise funds for the Hospital’s clinical and research programs. Nationwide Children’s is America’s largest pediatric hospital and research center with all care provided regardless of a family’s ability to pay. Driven to Give Gloves kicks off this weekend at Martinsville Speedway with Earnhardt wearing gloves accented in blue, representing autism. He will continue to wear the blue gloves for the remainder of the month – at Texas, Bristol and Richmond.

AXALTA: Martinsville is the third of 13 races in 2017 where Axalta Coating Systems will be the primary sponsor for Earnhardt’s No. 88 Chevrolet SS. Axalta, a 25-year partner of Hendrick Motorsports, is also featured as a major associate sponsor on the No. 88 Chevrolet for all non-primary races.

Hendrick Motorsports

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT MARTINSVILLE: At Martinsville, Hendrick Motorsports has team records for wins (24), top-five finishes (77), top-10s (121) and laps led (9,074) at a track. The organization has earned at least one win there in each of the past five years.

ORGANIZATION STATS: To date, Hendrick Motorsports has totals of 12 championships, 245 race victories, 211 pole positions, 1,012 top-five finishes and 1,700 top-10 finishes in points-paying NASCAR Cup Series competition. Its teams have led 66,564 laps since 1984.


“Martinsville is a neat track because it is so different from all of the other tracks we go to. It’s a really challenging place and I feel like I keep getting better each year. Our speed keeps improving each time we go there, and now we just need to put a whole weekend together.”

Kasey Kahne on racing at Martinsville

“I never really raced at a place like Martinsville. Just the way it’s shaped and how much braking you use, you just don’t see racetracks like that around the Southeast other than Martinsville. I’m looking forward to getting back. I do feel like I’ve made some gains personally and I do think that myself and (No. 24 team crew chief) Alan (Gustafson) and our team have worked in a better direction for me at Martinsville.”

Chase Elliott on racing at Martinsville

“We certainly are not where we want to be right now. Last weekend at California was so frustrating, nothing went our way. As a competitor you have to put that stuff behind you and focus forward, so I’m looking forward to getting to Martinsville. The last race at Martinsville was an amazing finish, a very emotional one for me – so meaningful – and it obviously paved the way to our seventh championship. It’s a special place for us, it suits my driving style and I wish we raced at Martinsville more than twice a year.”

Jimmie Johnson on racing at Martinsville

“I love the short tracks and short-track racing. We don’t get to do a lot of it, so that makes you love it more. Being able to come to these tracks and knowing you are only going to get to run here a few times, it makes you really appreciate it and work hard. You have to really try to take care of the car to run all the laps and get everything out of it you can. As far as racetracks go, Martinsville looks pretty straightforward, but there are little things about each corner – the exit of (Turn) 4 is so different than the exit of (Turn) 2. It looks identical, but inside the car they are two different corners. It’s fun.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. on racing at Martinsville


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