The lone active track to predate the sport, Martinsville Speedway has become a relic of NASCAR nostalgia. From hot dogs to grandfather clocks, this paperclip-shaped, half-mile track has stood the test of time.
Because it has been on the schedule every year since NASCAR’s founding, Martinsville has hosted the most NASCAR Cup Series races of any track. This weekend’s Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 will mark the 143rd time the Cup cars will compete at NASCAR’s shortest track.
Because of the high quantity of races, many legendary drivers throughout NASCAR history have substantial win totals at this track. Here are the five drivers with the most all-time wins at Martinsville.
Rusty Wallace: 7 wins
12% of Rusty Wallace’s career Cup victories came at Martinsville, including his final win in 2004. The 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee also won five out or seven Martinsville contests held between and 1996, including three in a row between April 1994 and April 1995.
Jeff Gordon: 9 wins
Fellow NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon was also a master of the paperclip, collecting nine wins during his illustrious career. Perhaps his most famous and popular triumph was his final Cup win in 2015, when he held off Jamie McMurray on a two-lap shootout to punch his ticket into the championship round of the postseason.
Jimmie Johnson: 9 wins
Jimmie Johnson tied his longtime teammate and partial car owner Gordon after notching his ninth win in 2016. But Martinsville was as much about triumph as it was tragedy in Johnson’s career. He scored an emotional victory in 2004 just hours after Ricky Hendrick, Johnson’s good friend and son of team owner Rick Hendrick, was killed along with nine other Hendrick Motorsports personnel in a plane crash.
Darrell Waltrip: 11 wins
Darrell Waltrip gave Hendrick four Martinsville wins. The 2012 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee also won seven other times driving for DiGard Racing and Junior Johnson and Associates. He finished runner-up another four times.
Richard Petty: 15 wins
It is no surprise that NASCAR’s all-time wins leader is also the all-time wins leader at Martinsville. To give you just a glimpse at how impressive Richard Petty’s 15 wins are, 21 of the 37 drivers in this weekend’s contest have not even made 15 starts at the paperclip.
Some Nuggets Before You Go
- With Johnson’s recent retirement, Denny Hamlin now holds the mark as the most Martinsville wins of any active driver in NASCAR. The Virginian has won five times, including three in a row between 2009 and 2010. His last win at the track was in 2015.
- Red Byron and Earl Ross made just one start at Martinsville during their careers. They both won. Byron became Martinsville’s inaugural winner in 1949. He would go on to claim NASCAR’s first championship later that season. To date, Ross is the only international driver to find victory lane in Martinsville. The Canadian won in 1974.