Nascar Exclusive Race Report

Stewart-Haas Race Report:
Martinsville Speedway | 4/2/2017

Greg Zipadelli|Vice President of Competition, Stewart-Haas Racing

Friday: Practice and Qualifying

“Friday is one of those kind of stressful days. Qualifying is everything for pit selection. It can absolutely change the outcome of the race. It’s a very tight pit road at Martinsville, the boxes are very small. So, qualifying is very important. We put a lot of emphasis on it.

“We had really good cars. I felt like we had three cars that would have been in the top-10. We got some rain, thunderstorms and everything got canceled. We didn’t even get to go through our initial tech and templates like we normally do, so that made for a different Sunday morning. We went into the race kind of blind.”

Saturday: Practice

“We had two practices Saturday. One was really early and we use that session to A-to-B some things and make some changes. You can’t do a lot of track tuning. It rained Friday, so the racetrack was green Saturday morning. This racetrack has a characteristic of taking on a bunch of rubber when that happens. It drastically changes how the racecars drive and the setup you have to put in it. So you have to be patient, open-minded and prepared to make changes as the racetrack changes. With the sun coming out in the second session and it being closer to race time, that’s the one where you try to make some long runs, get a good look at tire wear and watch how the racetrack tightens up as it takes rubber and adjust from there. You sit Saturday night and wonder what the weather’s going to be, how much rubber the racetrack will take, and how much looser do we have to be at the end of the race than at the beginning, because there’s always a point in this race where, all of a sudden, it’ll be between lap 250 and 350, you’ll have a really good car and lose the handle on it because the racetrack takes some rubber and really changes.”

Sunday: Race

“We battled hard. Goodyear came with a new right-side tire, and we weren’t able to find what it wanted. We struggled with the setups as a result. One of our cars, the No. 14, ran decent all day. Clint (Bowyer) was inside the top-10 all day except for a pit stop where he lost some spots, but he raced his way back to get a top-10 finish. So, we were able to kind of hang a flag on that one. But, overall, it was a long day for us. We tried to do all we could to maintain track position, because passing was at a minimum. Some of the cars had issues with getting caught up in accidents.”