One or the other, perhaps. Martinsville or NASCAR was not really thinking about oval tracks, concrete, hard braking left turns and rain racing…
Friday at Martinsville gave a showcase of Spring weather. Rain, sunlight and a bit of lightning. It all mixed together for a long day. And night.
Practice and qualifying for the Craftsman Trucks (Long John Silver’s 200) and the Xfinity (Call811.com Before You Dig. 250) went off with blue but cloudy skies. The rain had come in but left an open door to get through for mid day track action.
There was a bit of a push as drivers were introduced for the Craftsman series. The rain was coming and the plan was to get on track quickly. The track was mostly dry but the start was on rain tires with a planned caution to switch out if the rain held back.
The soft compound and tread design of the rain tires wore quickly and left rubber on the track showing the preferred line. At lap 37, the trucks were brought in an the switch to Goodyear slicks was on.
With the racing, it was Corey Heim driving the pace for most of it. Zane Smith started on the pole with NASCAR veteran Kyle Busch running on the side. Busch was able to get around to the lead early but Corey Heim was always there and charging forward.
Heim won both stages. Rain had made a comeback and put the trucks on pit road just as stage 2 was set to go green. The wet faded after a bit and the racing continued. There were some contact spins and loose racing with cautions to shake up restarts but it was Corey Heim who took control through it all.
Another long hold with thunder and visible lightning threatened to put it all off as the half way was still laps away. Radar and forecasts showed another opening and the race was on hold but the clock was ticking. The gamble paid off and racing resumed with Corey Heim still running the front. The rain returned at lap 111.
As the clock was pushing towards Saturday, NASCAR called it with over half the race run. Fans saw a bit of everything. Weather, on track action and a Martinsville first as rain tires were featured as another notch in the history there.
At the call, it was Corey Heim for the win. Kyle Busch and Zane Smith took 2nd and 3rd for their efforts. Ty Majeski and Tanner Gray filled the top five.
PHOTO GALLERY – CRAFTSMAN SERIES / LONG JOHN SILVER’S 200