By Toby Christie (Originally appeared on RubbingsRacing.com)
Kurt Busch was visably rattled last week when he lost to Jimmie Johnson at Bristol following a late restart, and reasonably so. Busch led 278 of 500 laps en route to a third place finish, while Johnson went on to celebrate his third win through five events thus far this season.
Jimmie Johnson has now chalked up 50 Sprint Cup Series victories in his career, and he shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Last week he finally was able to win at Bristol Motor Speedway, which is one of his worst race tracks on the circuit. In all Johnson has now failed to win on just five race tracks on the current schedule.
If you are wondering Martinsville is not one of those five tracks, and that is why every driver has to be worried coming into this race. Not only is Martinsville not one of those tracks, but it is actually arguably Johnson’s best track. His career average finish at the paperclip is and utterly incredible 5.1 (highest among active drivers). He already has six wins at this track in his career, and he has 15 top-ten finishes in his 16 career starts here. Do you see where I’m going with this?
There could be no worse track for Jimmie Johnson to be heading into on a hot streak than Martinsville… for the competition that is.
For those still supporting the “horseshoe theory”, in the last nine races at Martinsville Jimmie Johnson’s worst finish is a fourth in 2008. That no matter how you slice it isn’t luck, it is all talent.
The new spoiler will debut replacing the wing this week. Everyone is hoping for the spoiler to bring the field back to the 48 car, but for this week at least I don’t see the spoiler making a difference. Johnson is just too good at this track for anything to level the playing field.