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Starting Line for March 26


Sprint Cup Series

STP 500

Site: Martinsville Speedway, Martinsville, Va.

Schedule: Sunday, 1 p.m. on FOX Sports 1.

Then and now: Kurt Busch won this race last year, taking the lead with 11 laps to go and held off Jimmie Johnson to earn the victory. Johnson dominated the race, leading 296 of the 500 laps, but came up short in the end. It was Busch’s second career win at Martinsville, his first coming in the 2002 fall race. … Heading into this weekend, Kevin Harvick remains the hottest driver on the circuit, having eight consecutive top-2 finishes (dating back to the last three races of the 2014 season), with four wins and four runner-up finishes, the most top-2 finishes since Richard Petty had 11 in 1975. … Dale Earnhardt Jr. won last year’s fall Chase race at Martinsville. … In the 24 races at Martinsville since Kurt Busch won in fall 2002, Johnson and Jeff Gordon have won a combined 13 times. In their overall careers, Gordon and Johnson have won eight races each at Martinsville, tops among active drivers. NASCAR Hall of Famer Petty holds the record with 15 career triumphs around the .526-mile short track.


Xfinity Series

Next race: O’Reilly Auto Parts 300, Friday, Apr. 10, Texas Motor Speedway.


Camping World Truck Series

Kroger 250

Site: Martinsville Speedway, Martinsville, Va.

Schedule: Saturday, 2:30 p.m. on Fox Sports 1.

Then and now: Matt Crafton is the defending race winner, having earned his first career win last yar at Martinsville. Crafton took the lead from Timothy Peters on Lap 250 and led the remaining six laps to earn the victory under caution. … Heading into this weekend, Darrell Wallace Jr. has been the most successful driver of late at Martinsville. He won the fall 2013 and fall 2014 races, as well as finished second to Crafton in the spring 2014 event. … This is the first Truck race in a month and only the third of the season. … Crafton, who is seeking his third consecutive Truck championship in 2015, comes into Saturday’s race second in the points standings, two points behind surprising early season points leader Tyler Reddick. Crafton will extend his record as all-time starts leader at Martinsville in the Truck Series Saturday when he takes his 27th career green flag.

Verizon Indycar Series

Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Site: Streets of St. Petersburg, Fla.

Schedule: Sunday, 3 p.m. on ABC.

Then and now: Will Power kicked off his drive to his first career IndyCar championship with his win in last year’s season-opening Firestone Grand Prix on March 30. Power was by far the class of the field, leading 74 of the 110 laps, defeating runner-up Ryan Hunter-Reay by nearly two full seconds. Takumoa Sato, who finished seventh, surprised by leading the second-most number of laps (33) before fading late. … Heading into this weekend, Power will be seeking to regain his pole supremacy at St. Petersburg. He won the pole for four straight years (2010-2013) before starting fourth in last year’s race. … Will last season’s parity continue in 2015? There were 11 different winners in 2014’s 18 races, tying a series mark set in both 2000 and 2001. … A total of 24 drivers are entered in this race, including four past St. Pete winners: Helio Castroneves, James Hinchcliffe, Graham Rahal and Power. … Tony Kanaan will make his 233rd consecutive career start Sunday, while Helio Castroneves will make his 295th career start. Both marks are tops among active drivers. … It’s hard to believe the event pole record hasn’t been broken yet: Sebastien Bourdais still holds the mark of 1:00.928, set on Feb. 22, 2003.


Formula One

Next race: Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix, March 27-29, Kuala Lumpur.



Next race: zMAX Dragway, March 27-29, Charlotte, N.C.