Martinsville substitute driver report

Photo by Nick Laham/NASCAR via Getty Images

Joey Logano leads the field to the green flag in Sunday's STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

March 30, 2015


Four interim drivers were among the 43 starters in Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Below is a breakdown on how each fared.

No. 18 David Ragan

Continuing his role as Kyle Busch’s replacement, Ragan started his fifth consecutive race with Joe Gibbs Racing. His 20th starting position was the best starting position among the four substitute drivers but worst since taking over the seat.

Ragan’s race consisted of running on the lead lap inside the top-ten. Running as high as third, Ragan’s fifth place effort Sunday was his first top-five finish in 67 Sprint Cup races.

“We’ve had some good speed and we’ve had top-10 cars, but we just haven’t been able to have a good, entire weekend,” he said post-race. “Finally, we put together a good race where we weren’t very good Friday and Saturday. We put together a good race today and that’s what’s the most important.”

Ragan’s top-five effort marks his second consecutive top-ten finish at Martinsville Speedway.


No. 34 Chris Buescher

Starting 35th, Buescher made his second career Sprint Cup start Sunday with Front Row Motorsports.

Buescher ran as high as fourth place, maintaining a position on the lead lap for much of the race. Buescher ran two of the fastest laps Sunday.

The Prosper, Texas native finished 24th, one lap down.


No. 42 Regan Smith

Sunday’s race marked the fourth time in three seasons Smith has filled in as a substitute driver in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, this time filling in for a sidelined Kyle Larson.

Photo by Benjamin Palmer/

Chris Buescher

Smith started in the rear of the field because of the driver change. On lap 286, Smith’s car spun in turn three while running 17th.

“It was just a check-up, chain reaction deal,” he said. “By the time it got back to me I hit the car in front of me and whoever was behind me hit me even harder. It is typical Martinsville.”

Running on the lead lap a majority of the race, Smith finished 16th.

“The race car was fast,” Smith said of his third 16th place finish of 2015. “This is not one of my better race tracks. When they called on this I was like ‘man why does it got to be Martinsville?’ But you know it was fun to drive it all day long.”

No. 55 Brett Moffitt

In his third race in the No. 55 this season, Moffitt started 33rd in his first NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway.

Photo by 
Benjamin Palmer/

Regan Smith

Moffitt ran as high as 18th, but fell four laps down, eventually finishing 28th
Which interim driver impressed you the most on Sunday?
No. 18 David Ragan
No. 34 Chris Buescher
No. 42 Regan Smith
No. 55 Brett Moffitt
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