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Associated Press l File 2009
Former NASCAR great Junior Johnson will be the grand marshal for next week’s Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway.
Friday, October 18, 2013
The grand marshal for next Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway will need no introduction to stock car racing fans.
Junior Johnson, who won 50 Cup races before becoming a six-time series champion as a car owner, will be handling the starting orders for the field in what will be the seventh race in the chase for the Sprint Cup title.
"I really enjoy doing things like this," said Johnson, who will give the famous "Drivers, start your engines" command from the start-finish line. "It's an honor for me. When something gives you so much like racing did for me, you have to give back.
"Martinsville is one of my favorite tracks. ... When I was a driver I kind of had it under my thumb ... I either won or blew up."
Tickets for Friday's Pole Day, Saturday's 200-lap NASCAR Truck Series race and Sunday's 500-lap Cup race are still available. Call 877.RACE.TIX or visit www.martinsvillespeedway.com for purchases.
Mini Cup race at FCS
The Mini-Cup cars will invade Franklin County Speedway tonight.
In what the track is billing as the biggest Mini-Cup race on the East Coast, the smaller cars that are basically a high-speed go-kart with severely scaled-down bodies of actual race cars will compete at the .375-mile speedway.
The program features a Junior Mini Cup race for youths under 18 and a Powderpuff Mini Cup event for women before the 30-lap World Series of Mini Cups. All the regular divisions will also race, including a twin 30-lap features for the Late Model Stock Car division and the racing program will be capped off with a 15-lap Any Car race.
Roanoke's Kyle Dudley leads the track's LMS by 67 points over Vinton's Wesley Thomason.
Grandstands open at 2 p.m. Racing starts at 5 p.m.
Junior has love-hate relationship with track
TALLADEGA, Ala. - Dale Earnhardt Jr. loves Talladega.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. hates Talladega.
An epic relationship, with defining moments of hugs and slugs, will be rekindled this weekend when he tangles with the Sprint Cup's infamous queen of superspeedways.
Earnhardt has won five Cup races here. The only active driver with more Cup triumphs at Talladega is four-time series champion Jeff Gordon, who has captured six top-tier races at the track. But Junior's success has come at a price, etched in emotional meltdowns, groggy recollections and the fiery infernos that capture the random madness of Talladega.
He called the racing "bloodthirsty" after a multicar crash here last October.
He's in the Chase, but mathematically out of the mix, 66 points behind leader Matt Kenseth.
Hamlin, Herring replace Vickers in Nationwide
TALLADEGA, Ala. - Denny Hamlin and Drew Herring will replace ailing Brian Vickers in the No. 20 car for the final three races of the NASCAR Nationwide season.
Joe Gibbs Racing announced Friday that Cup regular Hamlin will make his first Nationwide start of the season at Texas on Nov. 2. Herring will be behind the wheel Nov. 9 at Phoenix and the finale at Homestead.
Vickers is sidelined for the rest of the season undergoing treatment for a blood clot. He also drove the No. 55 Sprint Cup car for Michael Waltrip Racing; Elliott Sadler will fill in for the final four races in the top-level series.
Gaughan moving back to Nationwide in 2014
TALLADEGA, Ala. - Brendan Gaughan is moving back to the NASCAR Nationwide Series next year for Richard Childress Racing.
The team announced Friday at Talladega Superspeedway that Gaughan will drive the No. 62 car with sponsorship from South Point Hotel & Casino in his hometown of Las Vegas.
Gaughan is driving for Childress in the truck series this season and ranks 10th in the points standings heading into Saturday's truck race at Talladega. He has also made three Nationwide starts.
Gaughan competed in Sprint Cup in 2004, and he had a full-time Nationwide ride in 2009 and 2010. He has never won a race in NASCAR's top two series.
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