PREVIEW: Familiar faces typically win at Martinsville Speedway

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (WDBJ7) They're mashing the gas and going fast at Martinsville this weekend, with the Truck Series race on tap Saturday and the Sprint Cup race on Sunday.

The Sprint Cup Championship contenders will need to have a laser like focus for 500 laps on the half mile this weekend.

Sunday's Goody's Fast Relief 500 marks the beginning of the Round of 8 in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, and coming-out with a win here would be a huge relief for drivers to punch their ticket to the final four at Homestead.

The half-mile track has proven to be kinder to some drivers more than others -- particularly Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon. Those two have 17 wins between the two of them at Martinsville, with Gordon going for win number 10 -- filling-in for Dale Earnhardt Jr. again on Sunday.

“Yeah it's exciting to be back. I love this track. Obviously amazing memories from this track last year. I've always said if there's one track that I feel like I could get back in the car and feel comfortable and competitive it's this track,” Gordon said.

Jimmie Johnson said: "You're so focused on the present that you really can't carry much from it. We have a good notebook to pull from but outside of that, you have to live in the now. You have to live in the present. Clearly winning here, Texas, winning in general makes like so much easier looking forward to the Homestead race."

Denny Hamlin said: "You really just never see surprises here. You never look back at a Martinsville victory-- not one that I can think of and say, 'I can't believe that guy won.' It's usually the same old faces and the guys that have good experience and a lot of experience here."

Another car of local interest this weekend will be the number 21 Ford of Ryan Blaney. The Wood Brothers Racing driver is sporting the Virginia Tech paint scheme again, as the rookie looks to play spoiler to the Chase drivers and pick-up his first career win. >>

Jeff Gordon was joking Friday about whether or not this will actually be his last race of his career. On his way out of the media center, somebody mentioned the lights they're putting in, and he said he may have to come back for a night race here when they get the lights in.