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Dustin Off the Next Race: First Data 500

After having to take last week off due to having to look after illness, I’m glad to be back and dust off this race to start the Round of 8.  At the same time, as much as I enjoy Martinsville being the race to start this ever so critical round of NASCAR, part of me has been thinking about this for a while.

We have over the last three years seen some of the wildest moments happen in this race, the first one leading into the playoffs.  It set the tone for the way the final three races would be, but also provided many infamous moments and quotes.

That got me thinking:  Should Martinsville be the first race in this round…or the last?

Obviously, the schedule for next year is already set in stone, so we’re not going see it change any time soon.  But, think about it for a second.  If you consider how this year’s schedule is set, swapping Phoenix and Martinsville certainly isn’t a crazy idea.  Both tracks have their own unique perspectives to make it interesting.  Phoenix thanks to it’s reconfiguration has made how one runs the track a lot more critical, while also still proving to have those moments where frustration and anger come out.

So, if this was going to be the first race of this round, it certainly would make sense.

Then, if you make that swap, it’s then Martinsville where the beating, banging, the payback and the true anger can come out and determine who makes it into the championship four.  You’d have a battle to make the final four settled with road rage, and that to me is exciting.

I love the racing at Martinsville, it’s one of the places that I can actually say that me and my dad, who’s birthday is always around the weekend of this race, actually can…argue over.  For some reason, he’s not very big on the action at the “Paper Clip” or any short track on the circuit.  I keep debating this with him, and although he makes the point that racing at Martinsville is basically rush hour on a California interstate highway, that’s not what it’s about.

I always point out he enjoys heading to our local dirt track, which is even shorter in length than Martinsville, and yet he still doesn’t like the racing here.

To me, this place is the essence of NASCAR…small facility, the unique trophy, the hot dogs (which no, I have not tried and still have not figured out why they are so popular).  A win here to many is a big moment.  Look at how big of a win it was for Dale Jr. in 2014.  Yes, his quest for a championship was done, but a win here was something he wanted…he wanted that clock for himself, and he went out and got it.

It’s time to strap in for a real fight on the race track, because Martinsville seems to always bring out the evil in drivers, especially when a championship opportunity is on the line.

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