The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series gets back to action at the .526-mile paperclip of Martinsville Speedway this weekend. The series had the week off last week in observance of Easter weekend and enters the race this weekend with a ton of momentum.
Fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. is leading the points and despite his zero victories so far in 2013 he’s been a threat for the win in all five races. That’s always great for ticket sales and the sport in general.
Another big thing for ticket sales and momentum for NASCAR is its budding rivalries forming between what happened in this race last year with Clint Bowyer and Jeff Gordon and the new one formed of Joey Logano vs. Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin.
Last year, Hendrick Motorsports was gunning for their 200th win as an organization. The trio of Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson and Gordon dominated all day and were 1-2-3 going into the final restart.
It was looking like they would get that elusive win and sweep the top three spots before Ryan Newman got into Turn 1 too hot on the restart and pushed Bowyer into Gordon, wrecking both the No. 24 and his teammate Johnson.
Newman skated by and took home the win. Gordon was furious with Bowyer and the rivalry got good with the big melee that took place in Phoenix in November and both admitting their hatred for each other.
Fast forward to this season to where Hamlin took to Twitter to bash his former teammate Logano for actions at the end of the Daytona 500. The hatred grew bigger when Hamlin wrecked Logano at the closing stages of the Bristol race while Logano was moving forward towards the lead.
Last race, Hamlin was injured in a last-lap crash when Logano wrecked him between Turns 3 & 4 as the duo was battling for the win. Unfortunately, Hamlin won’t be able to defend himself and get payback this weekend at Martinsville but another guy Logano made mad may.
Stewart came to confront Logano at the end of the race on pit road at Fontana as tempers flared. They two nearly came to blows as Stewart took to the media to voice his frustrations with the youngster. He vowed to get payback and this weekend on a short track would be the most logical place.
All of this sets up what could be a perfect storm for NASCAR. The attention will surely be huge this weekend as there’s no NCAA Tournament to compete with and many will tune in to watch Earnhardt and hopes to see paybacks.
Usually Martinsville is the place where paybacks from earlier in the season occur. There should be no difference this year with how its gone.
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