NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
 
      === Hendrick Motorsports aiming for another win at Martinsville ===
 
 Martinsville, VA (SportsNetwork.com) - When the Sprint Cup Series competes  at
 Martinsville Speedway, it's a pretty good bet that a Hendrick Motorsports
 driver will be going to victory lane.
 
 HMS  is  celebrating its  30th anniversary  in NASCAR this  year. On April 29,
 1984,  the  first season for the  team then known as All-Star Racing, Geoffrey
 Bodine  won  at Martinsville, driving the  No. 5 Chevrolet for team owner Rick
 Hendrick.  The team  changed its  name to  Hendrick Motorsports  the following
 year.
 
 In  three decades,  Hendrick  has  accumulated 219  wins  in NASCAR's  premier
 series.  Twenty one of those victories have come at Martinsville, a 0.526-mile
 oval, which is the shortest racetrack on the series' schedule.
 
 Hendrick  drivers  Jimmie  Johnson,  the six-time  and  defending  Sprint  Cup
 champion,  and  Jeff Gordon, a  four-time titleholder  in the series, lead all
 active drivers with eight wins each at Martinsville.
 
 With  an average finish  of 5.333, Johnson has scored 21 top-10 finishes in 24
 races at this track. His eighth win here came in last year's spring race.
 
 "Martinsville  is  one of those  races on the schedule  I always want to win,"
 Johnson  said. "Last year,  we had great runs at Martinsville, and it would be
 an honor to win there once again for Hendrick Motorsports."
 
 Gordon  claimed  win number-eight at  Martinsville last October when he passed
 Matt  Kenseth for the lead with 21 laps to go and then held off Kenseth at the
 finish  by just 0.6  seconds. Gordon has posted 34 top-10 finishes in 42 races
 here. His average finish at this track is 6.833.
 
 "You have to be aggressive, but you have to be patient," Gordon said of racing
 at  Martinsville. "Martinsville has fairly long straightaways - at least for a
 half-mile  track -  with extremely  flat, tight  corners. You  really want  to
 'roll' into the corners, but it's very easy to overdrive the entry and use too
 much  brake. You  also have to 'roll'  the center of the corners while getting
 traction  up off [the corners]. Even when you hit a lap perfectly, chances are
 you  are dealing  with traffic  the very  next lap  since there  are 42  other
 drivers on this tight track with you."
 
 Gordon,  who is  currently third in the point standings, and Johnson, sixth in
 points, have yet to win a race this season.
 
 Last  Sunday in  Fontana, Calif., Kyle Busch became the fifth different winner
 in  as many Sprint Cup races in 2014. Busch joined Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Daytona
 500),  Kevin  Harvick (Phoenix), Brad  Keselowski (Las Vegas) and Carl Edwards
 (Bristol)  as those  drivers who have all but guaranteed themselves a berth in
 this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
 
 Will there be a sixth different winner this weekend at Martinsville?
 
 Six different winners to start the season would be a Chase-era record.
 
 Matt  Kenseth  had struggled  at Martinsville throughout  his Cup career until
 last  year, his first  season with Joe Gibbs Racing. Kenseth led a total of 96
 laps  before  finishing 14th  in the spring  race and then  followed up with a
 second-place run after leading 202 laps in the fall event.
 
 "Both races were really good here last year," Kenseth said. "We led a few laps
 in  the spring, thought we had a top-five car, but then we pitted [late in the
 race]  and  we didn't go anywhere  after we pitted," Kenseth recalled. "In the
 fall  race,  we ran good. We  did everything we could  do. We just got beat by
 somebody [Gordon] that was a little bit better."
 
 Kenseth's  teammate,  Denny Hamlin, is  expected to race at Martinsville after
 missing  last  weekend's event  in Fontana.  Hamlin, the driver  of the No. 11
 Toyota for JGR, was sidelined due to what the medical team onsite at Auto Club
 Speedway  originally termed  a vision problem stemming from a sinus infection.
 He was taken to a local hospital where doctors found a small piece of metal in
 his  eye. Doctors  were  able to  remove  the object,  and  he felt  immediate
 improvement to his condition. A CT Scan found no other complications.
 
 Hamlin  was then evaluated by a doctor in the Charlotte area on Monday. He had
 a  follow-up examination  on Wednesday, at which time he was cleared to resume
 all  racing  activity without restriction.  Hamlin, a Virginia native, has won
 four Sprint Cup races at Martinsville.
 
 Forty-four teams are on the preliminary entry list for the STP 500.
 
 Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup. Date: Sunday, March 30. Race: STP 500. Site:
 Martinsville Speedway. Track: 0.526-mile oval. Start time: 1 p.m. ET. Laps:
 500. Miles: 263. 2013 Winner: Jimmie Johnson. Television: FOX. Radio: Motor
 Racing Network (MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio.
 
 03/27 21:14:20 ET

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