The big news is that Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been cleared to race. He missed the last two races due to a concussion suffered on Aug. 29. Last year, Tony Stewart raced to victory as he passed Jimmie Johnson for the lead just after the restart with three laps remaining.
Gordon has seven wins at this track although his last win was seven seasonsago. Gordon also has nine poles at Martinsville. He was third a year ago so expect him to be near or at the front again this time around. His car was the class of the field at Martinsville in April. He started in 9th and took the lead on lap #22. He led 328 laps and earned the best driver rating (133.1). In 39 races he has 7 wins, 9 poles, and 31 top tens.
Newman was the spring race winner this year, but has had an inconsistent history at Martinsville. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver does have three poles including the fall race three years ago. He has qualified inside the top 10 in 15 of his 20 Cup starts at the track. His strong qualifying skills will help Newman start in the front and stay there Long Shot
Almirola ran strong at Martinsville this spring and has been driving well lately. Aric owns a 20.5 average finish, with a top 10 on flat tracks this year. That top 10 was an eighth-place finish at Martinsville earlier in the year. This team has had fast cars ever since Todd Parrott has come aboard.
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