GFT Facts & Stats Friday: NASCAR Cup Series Cook Out 400 at Martinsville Speedway

Bob Francis - Go Full Throttle
6 min readApr 5, 2024

5 April 2024
By Bob Francis, Managing Editor
Go Full Throttle Racing News

RIDGEWAY, VA — It’s a triple header at Martinsville Speedway as all three NASCAR touring series (Cup, Xfinity, and Trucks) are racing this weekend. The NASCAR Cup series is back at the “Paperclip” for the Cook Out 400 on Sunday, April 7 at 3 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, the eighth race of this year’s schedule. Virgina native Denny Hamlin, fresh off his second win of the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season last weekend at Richmond Raceway, is set to challenge for yet another victory.

Cook Out 400 at Martinsville Speedway
Sunday, April 7 at 3 p.m. ET
The Purse: $7,669,028
TV: FS1, 2 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 210.4 miles (400 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 80),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 180), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 400)

Hendrick Motorsports to celebrate organization’s 40th anniversary at Martinsville

Founded by NASCAR Hall of Fame owner Rick Hendrick in 1984, Hendrick Motorsports is the winningest team in NASCAR Cup Series history with all-time records of 304 points-paying race victories and 14 championships. The organization holds almost every major statistical record at NASCAR’s top level, including pole positions, top-10 finishes, top fives and laps led.

“When I think back on our story, I have a hard time believing it myself,” Hendrick said. “In 1984, we had five employees, 5,000 square feet of rented space and a lot of desire to make it work. I dreamed of one day winning a race, but I never imagined it would grow into what it is now. Every bit of success we’ve had is due to the contributions of our people and the incredible support we’ve received over 40 years. We’re here because of the commitment, the passion and the sacrifices made by so many. It’s been an incredible ride, and we’re just getting started.”

In the eighth race of the 1984 season at Martinsville Speedway, driver Geoff Bodine recorded Hendrick Motorsports’ first Cup Series win, which kept owner Hendrick from shutting down the fledgling team. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of that key victory, this week Hendrick Motorsports will run four ruby red paint schemes in the Cook Out 400:

  • Kyle Larson’s №5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
  • Chase Elliott’s №9 UniFirst Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
  • William Byron’s №24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
  • Alex Bowman’s №48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

In addition, the celebration will also include Rick Hendrick serving as the honorary pace car driver for the Cup race, and Geoff Bodine and nine-time Martinsville Speedway winner Jeff Gordon as the event’s Grand Marshals.

Hendrick Motorsports has fielded only Chevrolet race cars in the Cup Series since it was established and has 28 Cup-level victories among nine drivers at Martinsville — Jeff Gordon (nine), Jimmie Johnson (nine), Darrell Waltrip (four), Geoff Bodine (one), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (one), Chase Elliott (one), Alex Bowman (one), William Byron (one) and Kyle Larson (one), which is the all-time record for team wins at a single track.

NASCAR Driver Points and Playoff Outlook following Race 7 at Richmond

Martinsville Speedway Track Facts

Track Length: 0.526 Mile
Race Length: 210 Miles (400 Laps)
Grandstand Seating Capacity: 60,000+
First Race: September 25, 1949
Banking in Corners: 12 degrees
Banking on Straights: 0 degrees
Frontstretch: 800 feet
Backstretch: 800 feet

Qualifying & Race Records

Qualifying: Joey Logano, Ford, 100.201 mph (18.898 secs.); March 28, 2014 (Round 1 of 2)
Race: Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 82.223 mph (3:11:55); Sept. 22, 1996

Track Records

Most Wins: 15 — Richard Petty
Most Poles: 8 — Darrell Waltrip
Most Top Fives: 30 — Richard Petty
Most Top 10s: 38 — Jeff Gordon

Pole Position

Seven NASCAR Cup Series Martinsville Speedway pole winners are active this weekend. Joey Logano leads the NASCAR Cup Series among active drivers in poles at Martinsville with five (2015 sweep, spring 2016, fall 2017 and spring 2019).


This weekend, 11 of the 59 different NASCAR Cup Series Martinsville Speedway winners will be active.

Hendrick Motorsports leads the NASCAR Cup Series in wins at Martinsville Speedway with 28 wins among nine drivers — Jeff Gordon (nine), Jimmie Johnson (nine), Darrell Waltrip (four), Geoffrey Bodine (one), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (one), Chase Elliott (one), Alex Bowman (one), William Byron (one), Kyle Larson (one).

Hendrick Motorsports celebrates its 40th anniversary with special paint schemes for all four NASCAR Cup Series cars that will be in action on April 7 at Martinsville Speedway for the Cook Out 400 (Image Credit: Hendrick Motorsports)
Known as “The Paper Clip” Martinsville Speedway is on U.S. Highway 220 South, two miles south of Martinsville, Va., halfway between Roanoke, Va., and Greensboro, N.C. (Image Credit:


The GFT NASCAR AI Race Predictor algorithms scored a season high 210 points last week playing NASCAR Fantasy Live in the TMDNASCAR league for the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway. And as Fantasy sports and betting goes, the season high points did not equate to a higher rank. Our GFT BOT player “AI 1” actually fell 90 spots to 341, but that still in the top 7.5% of the total 4,565 players.


Here is the initial (before Cup Practice and Qualifying) picks for Martinsville. Note the models are taking into account the number of starts each driver has in 2024 against the 10 use regular season limit- commonly known as “asset allocation.” You can see in the output below, drivers with only 1 start make up the majority of the initial picks: Boman, Truex Jr, Blaney, Logano.

Elliott has 4 starts but the algorithm is taking that into account and (as a past winner at Martinsville) predicts at least a top 5. Same with Hamlin- 4 starts already in 2024, but is so good at Martinsville, the GFT algorithm recommends holding the 11 in the Garage … just in case.

So far in 2024, our models have predicted wins by Larson, Byron, and Hamlin.

**Be sure to follow us on X (aka Twitter) to see the updated GFT NASCAR Fantasy Live picks AFTER we ingest the Practice and Qualifying data. For a Sunday race, this usually happens overnight Saturday and is published Sunday morning at least 2 hours before the Green flag.



Bob Francis - Go Full Throttle

Go Full Throttle editors and reporters bring you news & commentary on NASCAR, F1, IndyCar, and World of Outlaws. Member: National Motorsports Press Association