This article is part of our Weekly Preview series.
The NASCAR Cup Series continues its short-track schedule this week as the series pulls into the small town of Martinsville, Va., for the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500.
This week marks the second short-track race in consecutive events. Martinsville Speedway is very flat track with only 12 degrees of banking in the turns and is truly flat on the long straightaways. We just witnessed tire preservation and issues with tire wear at Bristol on the dirt. We will see a similar game played at the Martinsville oval.
Brake preservation is the name of the game in Martinsville because you essentially have two long drag strips with hairpin corners on either end. The oval looks very much like a paperclip when viewed from above, thus the nickname "the paperclip" has taken hold over the years. Taking care of your brakes for the full 500 laps becomes as important as passing on this tricky short track. Like any bull ring in the Cup Series, not only is equipment preservation important but getting and maintaining good track position is of the utmost importance. If you get stuck in the back of the field here, you can find yourself a lap down in a matter of minutes from the start or any restart, so teams must place high priority on getting and keeping good track position. You won't be able to race your way through traffic and back toward the front as easily here as last race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Track position