Since age four I have been a NASCAR Winston Cup fan. Some of the greatest racing I've ever seen is on the short tracks. Of all the short tracks (.526-1 mile in length) in NASCAR, Martinsville and Bristol are by far the best; but which is better?.
Martinsville Speedway is located just outside of Martinsville, Virginia, which is near the North Carolina boarder. The speedway opened its doors in 1947 as a dirt track, but in 1955 it was paved. Martinsville owns the distinction of being NASCAR's oldest sanctioned track. The tight turns, with only twelve degree banking, and short straightaways, which make up sixty percent of the racing surface, will wreak havoc on the break pads.
Martinsville is the toughest track on gears and breaks, on the Winston Cup circuit. The track is tough on the gears because the engine is running a lot of rpms (revolutions per minute) down the straightaways, then way down in the corners. The brakes can wear down real fast if you frequently use a lot of break in the corners. .
Martinsville has more than one racing line, but the preferred line is the bottom. As the race goes on, in most cases, the drivers will start to drift up the track to the higher line. The reason that they do this is because the bottom groove will get to rough, so they will look for a better line to run. .
During the race, traffic it tight all day long; normally there is a car in front of you and a car behind you. Most cars do not come away at the end of the day undamaged. .
A lap around Martinsville goes something like this, if you are running the preferred line. Coming down the front straightaway, you are turning a lot of rpms. You have to ease off the gas and squeeze into the break as you start to dive to the bottom of the track. If you use too much break you will get a wheel hop, which means your back breaks will lock up, and your rear tires will for a split second leave the asphalt.