CONCORD, N.C. - Sunday afternoon's NASCAR Cup Series main event at Martinsville Speedway serves as a full-circle moment for Hendrick Motorsports.

Martinsville Speedway's NASCAR roots trace back to 1949. Since then, the tour's top series has hosted 150 races at the facility, with two dates annually on the schedule. The most memorable victory for Rick Hendrick's team came in 1984 when Geoff Bodine drove his No. 5 entry to victory lane. The win was the first for the team and helped to keep the doors open, propelling the organization into NASCAR racing history.

RELATED: Bodine, Hendrick look back at the win that started it all

Sunday's race will see each of the four cars sport special red paint schemes in honor of the team's ruby anniversary. The event marks the eighth race of the season, just as Bodine's win came in the eighth race of the 1984 campaign. 

"The race at Martinsville Speedway for the 40th anniversary is a big deal," Byron said. "That's been a big deal over the offseason with all the paint schemes and everything."

RELATED: Check out the special paint schemes that will run at Martinsville

Hendrick Motorsports is the winningest team at Martinsville and their 28 wins are the most by any team at any track on the circuit. Team vice chairman Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson each scored nine victories at the track during their careers, while Darrell Waltrip earned four for the team. Six drivers have contributed to the total with one victory: Bodine, Alex Bowman, William Byron, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson. Martinsville is the only track on the schedule where all four drivers in the team's current lineup (Bowman, Byron, Elliott and Larson) have won. 

Short-track racing is a key part of NASCAR's roots and the closeness of the action is just several of the aspects of Martinsville that No. 9 crew chief Alan Gustafson greatly enjoys.

"I love Martinsville," said Gustafson, who has three wins atop the pit box at the Virginia track. "I love the authenticity of the track. I like the fact that for the most part it has stayed relatively the same and evolved a bit with the sport. A lot of people in the sport grew up short-track racing and it reminds me of the local short-track experience, racing at a half-mile track.

"When you go there, it just feels very comfortable. I love the fact of being able to see the cars all the way around the track. To be able to sit there on the pit box and see the car go through the corner and be so close to it. Watch the driver's hands on the wheel. Watch the way the car navigates a corner and you can kind of see the trends of the handling. All that stuff is just really super fun for me and something that I enjoy."

RELATED: Every win from Hendrick Motorsports at Martinsville

Martinsville's 2023 spring race saw Larson take home his first career victory at "The Paperclip." After staying in the top 10 for most of the race, crew chief Cliff Daniels prioritized track position and opted for two tires on the final pit stop of the race. That strategy call set up Larson to take over the lead with 30 circuits remaining to claim the victory. Elliott placed 10th in his first event back from injury. Bowman barely missed out on a top-10 finish in 11th, while Byron would end the day in the 23rd position. 

"We happened to win there last year, so that was neat and something I'll never forget," Larson said when looking back at his spring win in 2023. "It was something that I never thought I would do. I still have a lot of room for improvement there to be a consistent contender."

RELATED: See this weekend's paint schemes

Data provided by Racing Insights

Larson, No. 5 team
Coming off a victory in this race a year ago, Larson is also riding a top-10 streak of three races at Martinsville. Since the Next Gen car was introduced in 2022, the driver of the No. 5 entry has earned the fifth-most points (142) of any driver at the Virginia venue. His average finish (6.83) on short tracks in the Next Gen era ranks second. 

Elliott, No. 9 team
With 322 circuits out front, Elliott has led the second-most laps at Martinsville in the Next Gen car, which is also where he has led the most laps in his career (1,040). Both of Elliott's top-10 finishes this season have come on short tracks (eighth at Bristol Motor Speedway and fifth at Richmond Raceway). He has eight top 10s in his last ten short-track races. 

Byron, No. 24 team
Martinsville ranks third among tracks where Byron has led laps (221). When looking at top-five finishes, the driver of the No. 24 entry has earned four top-five results, tied with Darlington Raceway for the most of any track he's competed at in the Cup Series. Byron is one of two drivers with multiple points-paying wins in 2024.

Bowman, No. 48 team
Two of Bowman's seven Cup Series wins have come at short tracks. Ironically, both facilities are in Virginia (Richmond Raceway and Martinsville in 2021). The driver of the No. 48 Ally Racing Chevrolet is in a five-way tie, which includes his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson, for the most top-five finishes (three) on the season.

Hendrick Motorsports
With 10,614 laps led at Martinsville, Hendrick Motorsports is the only team to surpass 10,000 circuits out front at one track in the sport's history. 

RELATED: Martinsville at the heart of Hendrick Motorsports' 40th anniversary


The team's first Martinsville win and its most recent victory at the 0.526-mile track were by the No. 5 car. 


Saturday, April 6
4:35 p.m. ET: Practice - FS2 
5:20 p.m. ET Qualifying - FS2

Bowman and Byron are in Group A, while Elliott and Larson are part of Group B. 

Sunday, April 7 
3 p.m. ET: Cup Series race - FS1

RELATED: Martinsville at the heart of Hendrick Motorsports' 40th anniversary

Cup Series race
Stage 1: Lap 80
Stage 2: Lap 180
End of Race: Lap 400

Yes, listeners can find both events on MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).

Fans can watch all the action with the FOX Sports Live app. For live updates and additional content during the race, head over to X and follow @TeamHendrick for the most accurate and up-to-date information.   

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