NASCAR changes Martinsville race, ending a 65-year streak

The spring NASCAR Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway is set to be shortened by 100 laps, though the playoff race is unaffected.

The two annual NASCAR Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway have historically been 500 laps each, but that is set to change in the 2022 season.

While the October playoff race is still set to be a 500-lap race around the four-turn, 0.526-mile (0.847-kilometer) oval in Ridgeway, Virginia like usual, the spring race is set to be shortened.

The Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500, which is scheduled to be a night race on Saturday, April 9, has been shortened from 500 laps to 400 laps, making it the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 400.

This change was made because of the fact that the race is a night race.

The first stage is set to end after lap 80, the second stage is set to end after lap 180, and the third and final stage is set to last for 220 laps, from lap 181 to lap 400.

Martinsville Speedway has hosted a total 146 Cup Series races going back to 1949, and only one race has ever been a scheduled 400-lap race.

While 500-lap races at the Paperclip have been shortened due to rain before, most recently in April 1995, the track has not hosted a scheduled 400-lap race in 66 years.

The last — and only — time that this happened was back in October 1956, when the 400-lap Old Dominion 400 was won by Jack Smith.

This was only the 15th race at the track, meaning that the 147th race there this spring is set to end a streak of 131 consecutive Martinsville Speedway races scheduled for 500 laps, a streak that began in 1957 and included every race through 2021.

Just eight of those 131 races did not last for at least 500 laps due to rain, while seven of the other 123 lasted more than 500 laps due to overtime rules.

The Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 400, the eighth of 36 races on the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series schedule, is set to be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1 from Martinsville Speedway beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 9.