CONCORD, N.C. -- Greg Ives is looking forward to the challenge of a night race at Martinsville Speedway.
The crew chief of the No. 48 team is excited to hit the pavement at another short track Saturday evening but is taking an analytical engineering approach to the .526-mile circuit.
“Anytime you have night races, you prepare a little bit differently depending on the track grip,” Ives explained on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “There were times when you would start the race during the day and then it would end at night, but this is a true night race. Now we just have to worry about if the track is going to rubber up or not. I think it is generally going to be a clean track and hopefully we can get another groove in there.
“You might see some fender banging to make the pass. You might have some tempers flare, but it’s just short track racing.”
Driver Alex Bowman has had some impressive runs at Martinsville, including two sixth-place finishes in both 2020 races. The driver of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE is coming off a tough finish from the dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway where his fourth gear wasn’t working.
“Every week is a restart, really,” Ives said. “I think that’s what it’s all about. It’s attacking each racetrack as they come. We’ve had some good runs at Martinsville, especially the last year. Last fall we finished sixth there – I think we probably could have been a little bit better, but we know we have to continue to have the speed that we’ve had.
“The thing that we’re missing is finishes. In Atlanta, we did a good job of having speed and finish. On the other tracks we’ve had speed but not the finishes that we need.”
Bowman and the No. 48 Ally machine has run in the top five for 344 laps and inside the top 10 for 733 laps so far this season along with one top-five finish, three top-10s and a pole award from the DAYTONA 500. While the talent and speed are there, unfortunate accidents have kept Bowman from the top finishes he should have earned.
The No. 48 pit crew also has been stellar, logging the fastest average four-tire pit stop time (13.54 seconds) in the Cup Series through the first seven races of the year.
“As every week goes by, it gets a little bit more difficult and the competition gets higher,” Ives said of getting a Cup win. “You feel the pressure, for sure, but we’re not going to hit any panic button and say that we dramatically 180 and change everything since we have speed. We just got to go up there and execute and allow our pit crew to do their job getting us spots on pit road, and when the checkered flag falls we got to make sure we’re as far forward as we can be.”
Ives, Bowman and the rest of the No. 48 team will have another chance to shine this Saturday under the lights at Martinsville Speedway. The race will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET and be broadcast on FS1.