MARTINSVILLE RECORD: One win and 11 top-10 finishes including seven top-five's in 23 starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Newman feels "Martinsville is very much a finesse race track - from a braking standpoint, but also the acceleration part of it, too. You can really chew your tires up on the concrete (in the turns) before you get to the asphalt getting back on the gas, but how you do it can really make a big difference in how good your car is for a whole fuel run."
LOOKING BACK: Newman finished ninth at Talladega. "I rode around at the back all day basically just trying to keep my nose clean," said Newman. "I was waiting for something to happen the whole race, but it never really did except for that wreck on the last lap that unfortunately took out my teammate Austin Dillon. I've not had the best of luck at Talladega, so to be able to drive the car back to the garage is something I certainly feel good about."
ETC.: Newman's wife Krissie writes a monthly blog and in this month's blog, she talks about one of her passions - Rescue Ranch. "It's no secret that Ryan and I have been animal lovers forever," said Krissie. "Rescue Ranch was born after attending a Helen Woodward ACES (Animal Center Education Services) workshop. Based on the west coast idea of an animal center that included everything I could possibly dream one to be: humane education programs, an adoption center, boarding facilities and a vet clinic. With an 87-acre purchase off NC Highway 21 and my dad as COO, the dream began to take shape. On October 26, we'll celebrate our grand opening. And there is much, much more to come. Rescue Ranch, ultimately, will help the animals I love, plus connect humans and nature in a way that enriches the world we share."
22 JOEY LOGANO, Ford
Team: Penske Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 12th, 75 points out of first place. Lost one spot last week.
MARTINSVILLE RECORD: Only two top-10 finishes in nine starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Logano believes "finishing fourth or fifth (in the point standings) is still an achievable goal, and Martinsville should be a good one (race) for us. We were able to test there a couple weeks ago and able to learn some things, some things to do and some things not to do which are equally valuable. We'll go there and try to get a win and a big grandfather clock and gain some points."
LOOKING BACK: Logano finished 16th at Talladega. "That was a lot more conservative race than I think anyone ever thought," said Logano. "There were a few times when it looked like there was going to be a big crash and there never was. In the end nobody wanted to go. I was back there trying to make a move to go forward, but once they all went single file up against the wall you are stuck back there."
ETC.: Logano believes NASCAR needs to make some changes on the cars before the next restrictor-plate race. "The bottom lane doesn't work (at Talladega and Daytona) because of these big shark fins on the side that doesn't let any air on the spoiler so it hurts the bottom lane so much," said Logano. "You aren't able to slow down the guy on the top because the fin blocks the air on the spoiler and you can't slow them down. That is why the bottom lane doesn't work and it is never going to work until they change that."
5 KASEY KAHNE, Chevrolet
Team: Hendrick Motorsports
WHERE HE STANDS: 13th, 101 points out of first place.
MARTINSVILLE RECORD: Kahne finished fourth in the spring race to make it two straight top-four finishes.
LOOKING AHEAD: Kahne said, "We have a strong team, and we've been one of the best cars at times throughout the whole season. Hopefully we can hit on it again these last couple races and at least finish strong and get back in the top 10. I think at this point in time that would be a successful year for where we're at right now."
LOOKING BACK: Kahne began the race by dropping to the back of the pack in hopes of missing "The Big One (wreck)." But his plan backfired when he lost the draft and fell a lap down. To compound his problems, Kahne was later penalized for speeding on pit road. As a result, he finished 36th, two laps back of winner Jamie McMurray.
ETC.: Car owner Rick Hendrick has been named the 2014 recipient of the Keith Crain/Automotive News Lifetime Achievement Award, presented at the Washington Auto Show. "Rick has become an auto industry icon through his charity, hard work, grit and determination," said Keith Crain, chairman of Crain Communications and editor-in-chief of Automotive News. "He has achieved unimaginable success as an automotive dealer and NASCAR owner and he has persevered through unspeakable grief and continues to give back and that combination makes him unique and the perfect recipient of the lifetime achievement award."