NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch 5: Amazing Martinsville Moments

  1. Jeff Gordon’s final win (2015)

“Has to be Jeff Gordon’s last win in 2015. It was my first Martinsville race as a reporter and it was one heck of a day!” –Zach Catanzareti

“I’m with Zach on how special that day turned out to be; I was there as well and knowing that it could well be the final win of Jeff Gordon’s incredible career was a little bit surreal and a little bit bittersweet.” –Amy Henderson

  1. Rusty Wallace’s final win (2004)

“Rusty Wallace breaks the longest winless streak of his career to win at the spring race of 2004. It was the final win of his career. The track destroyed Jeff Gordon’s car, who had the fastest car”-Michael Massie

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XC6PZ6ixGk&app=desktop

  1. Harry Gant makes it four in a row (1991)

“I’m surprised this wasn’t the first one.  Harry Gant coming back from a crash with 123 laps to go to win his fourth consecutive Cup race in 1991.  This was the first Martinsville race I remember watching on ESPN.  Remember, Gant was 51 at the time.  He was no spring chicken, but he didn’t look anything like it.  Gant was just something else that year.  He had nothing short of a career renaissance with Andy Petree as his crew chief.  The results: Seven of his 18 career wins in two years before Petree left to become Dale Earnhardt’s crew chief.  It was sort of like when Mark Martin went to Hendrick Motorsports in 2009.” –Phil Allaway

  1. Tony Stewart vs. Kenny Irwin (1999)

“One of my faves: Tony Stewart going after Kenny Irwin in 1999.” –Frank Velat

“We couldn’t get by without a little short track temper here.  I hadn’t seen this particular video version before, but I remember the incident well.  Stewart and Irwin had such a competitive relationship throughout their careers.  I was at Loudon a few months later when Irwin was killed in a practice crash and I remember thinking that the sport had lost a rising talent, and that Stewart would miss his longtime rival” –Amy Henderson

  1. DW finds his mojo (1987)

“After years of domination with Junior Johnson, Darrell Waltrip wasn’t nearly as amazing with new owner Rick Hendrick in 1987, not being able to find Victory Lane until this amazing Martinsville finish in September.” –Michael Finley, Staff Writer

Bonus: The greatest ever?

“I give you the greatest finish in NASCAR history (to anyone older than 25). NASCAR Hall of Famer Richie Evans and Geoff Bodine battled at Martinsville in the Dogwood 500 until the very bitter end. It ended in a cloud of sparks. Evans and Bodine made contact in turn four, leading to one of the most insane drag races to the line in history. Only photos remain  of the finish, as in those days cameras still ran on film, and the tape delayed television broadcast ran out. Sadly, in 1985’s fall event Evans would be killed in a practice crash but not before solidifying his ninth NASCAR Modified championship, an all time NASCAR record in any series. Bodine went on to win the Daytona 500 with Rick Hendrick.” –John Douglas

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