Essential reporting in volatile times.

Click here to stay informed and subscribe to the Williamson Daily News.

Click #isupportlocal for more information on supporting our local journalists.

SteveMickeycrop_01057_tn.jpg

Take it from an old race fan that there is nothing worse than showing up early at a track on a Sunday morning knowing that there is a good chance that rain may be moving in.

I am one such fan and even though I only got to attend two races this season, my wife and I did get to experience the rain that pushed back the start of the Daytona 500 from Sunday to Monday but not before we got to see Air Force One do a fly by the grandstands at the Florida track.

Sunday’s Texas race was scheduled to be the second of the three events that makes up the Round of 8 races but rain once again reared its ugly head and forced a postponement until Monday.

While the race can be postponed, the same can’t be said for this article that has a hard deadline early on Monday morning.

So having to meet a deadline has forced me to stray from my anticipated coverage of the Playoff drivers still in the hunt to be one of the four that will leave Martinsville with the opportunity to run for the title the following week in the last race of the season at Phoenix.

There could not be a better track on the entire schedule than Martinsville Speedway to host the elimination race of the final round leading to the title race than the half-mile paperclip shaped Virginia track.

It’s all about the track at Martinsville as the modern amenities that are found at the vast majority of tracks that makes up the NASCAR Cup Series schedule has yet to make it there and the hope here is that they never do.

Martinsville has always been a mainstay on the Cup schedule but it was no secret that the sanctioning body was looking to shake up the schedule for 2021 and beyond by adding new tracks and taking away races from tracks presently on the schedule.

The thought was that Martinsville would be safe moving forward because it was one of only three short tracks remaining on the schedule. Richmond and Bristol are the other two short tracks and all three tracks were awarded two races for next season.

The track began hosting races in 1949 and next April will see the Cup Series compete on Saturday April 4th under the lights with the running of the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500.

The series will make its return to the track on Sunday October 31st for the Xfinity 500 which just like the coming weekend’s race will be the elimination race of the Round of 8. While the track has its plans in place for next season, there is still a lot of business yet to be settled on the track’s flat layout this weekend as all three of NASCAR’s major series will be competing in their final race before each crowns its champion the following week.

The NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series will kick off the weekend’s activities under the lights on Friday night at 8:30 p.m. The Xfinity Series will take the green flag on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. with the Cup Series scheduled for a 2:00 p.m. start on Sunday.

The Playoff drivers in all of three races will be competing for the checkered flag but there will also be the opportunity for a least one driver of the four in each series to advance to the championship race by their position in the points.

This weekend’s slate of races will be the green flag that every driver has been chasing since February. While it may not be the championship slate of races that Phoenix will host but to get there, a driver will have to get through Martinsville to earn the right to race for the title.

Steve Mickey writes about NASCAR for HD Media.