Y! Picks: TUMS Fast Relief 500

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Track Facts

Venue: Martinsville Speedway
Race length: 263 miles
No. of laps: 500
Qualifying: Fri., 3:30 p.m. ET
Race: Sun., 1:43 p.m. ET (ESPN)
STAT OF THE WEEK
Edsel, beware: A Ford has not won at Martinsville since 2002 (Kurt Busch).
APRIL RACE
Top 5
1. Ryan Newman
2. AJ Allmendinger
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
4. Matt Kenseth
5. Martin Truex Jr.
RECENT FALL WINNERS
2011: Tony Stewart
2010: Denny Hamlin
2009: Denny Hamlin
2008: Denny Hamlin
2007: Jimmie Johnson
2006: Jimmie Johnson
2005: Jeff Gordon
2004: Jimmie Johnson
2003: Jeff Gordon
2002: Kurt Busch
ALSO THIS WEEKEND:
Camping World Series
Kroger 200, Martinsville Speedway, Sat., 2:16 p.m.

EXPERT STANDINGS
NOTE: Jay Hart ended the regular season with 816 points, followed by Jay Busbee with 775 and Nick Bromberg with 755.
Hart:  2,210 points (5 wins)
Busbee:  2198 points (3 wins)
Bromberg:  2187 points (1 win)
YAHOO! SPORTS FANTASY AUTO RACING
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Martinsville preview (PDF)

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Martinsville Speedway for Sunday's TUMS Fast Relief 500.

Tony Stewart is the defending race winner.

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Who Will Win?

Denny Hamlin: It's almost a must-win for Hamlin if he's going to climb back in the championship hunt. Twenty points back means a) he has to beat Jimmie Johnson, and beating Jimmie Johnson likely means winning and b) he needs the extra bonus points to make up some ground on Brad Keselowski. If Hamlin can get it done it will be a huge confidence booster. – Jay Hart

Jimmie Johnson: Martinsville is one of Jimmie Johnson's best tracks, and he knows that now is the time that he can put some real pressure on Brad Keselowski. Johnson dodged a Chevy-sized bullet last week when his team repaired him well enough to get him a top-10 finish, and he'll capitalize on that new life this weekend. If he doesn't leave Martinsville with the points lead, he'll be within arm's reach of it. – Jay Busbee

Jeff Gordon: Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin, as we all know by now, are incredibly good at Martinsville and a win would help either of them close in on Brad Keselowski. So it makes perfect sense to take a guy who isn't in championship contention, right? Gordon's pretty dang good at Martinsville, too; he's the third-best active driver at the track and was in a great position until the wild and wooliness of the late caution and ensuing final laps in the spring. Gordon gets it done Sunday. – Nick Bromberg

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Top Storyline

If somehow, some way, Keselowski extends his points lead on both Johnson and Hamlin on Sunday, he's going to be your 2012 Sprint Cup Series champion. He's been very good on 1.5-mile tracks and was fifth at Phoenix in the spring. He's too good over the final three tracks to let Johnson or Hamlin make up a 10+ point deficit. Now, if Hamlin and Johnson close on Keselowski like the average finishes would have you reason? Well, buckle up. – Nick Bromberg

The last time we were at Martinsville, Jeff Gordon saw his race, and much of his season, vanish in a late collision with Clint Bowyer and Ryan Newman. This time around, a last-lap wreck could have Chase-altering consequences. The final two laps at Martinsville might just be the most important of the entire year to date. – Jay Busbee

In case you haven't heard, there's a certain driver named Earnhardt who will back behind the wheel this weekend. Dale Jr.'s presence will be much talked about, as will NASCAR's policy regarding concussions. – Jay Hart

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FROM THE SOURCE

"It's go time. It's tough to live it because it's stressful, but this is what we grew up wanting to be part of as kids, racing for a championship and duking it out." – Jimmie Johnson

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