Martinsville Cup race filled with spins and carnage

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Short track racing is known for being chocked full of race cars with sheet metal beaten senseless by the battles on track, and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway was no exception.

The mayhem started early in the day when Ricky Stenhouse Jr. spun in Turn 3 on lap 69, after contact from Paul Menard.

It continued on lap 106 when Jamie McMurray, dealing with a left-rear tire rub, suffered a tire blowout and spun out into the wall in Turn 3.

“I think the No. 48 (Jimmie Johnson) got into my left-rear and it got the body on the tire,” McMurray said when asked what happened. “We elected to stay out because if you pit here and you lose two or three laps, I really don’t think you can make those up.  In hindsight, I guess I wish we were talking that chance now instead of sitting here, but had a good car and just cut a tire down.”

He finished last for the third time in his career (LASTCAR.info).

On lap 123, Dale Earnhardt Jr. got loose exiting Turn 2 and spun out on the backstretch, with some help from Ryan Blaney.

The first of two multi-car wrecks occurred on lap 288. Exiting Turn 4, Erik Jones bounced off the frontstretch wall. He came down in front of Austin Dillon who nudged him out of the groove in Turn 1, but was himself turned by Denny Hamlin. The domino effect led to massive damage on Kurt Busch’s car and Daniel Suarez’s car.

“Somebody checked up in front of us in the outside lane and jammed it up. No place to go,” Busch said.

A few laps later, Busch blew a left-front tire and slammed the wall in Turn 3 with 205 laps to go.

With 192 to go, Gray Gaulding spun out in Turn 3, as did Reed Sorenson with 167 to go.

With 109 to go, Jeffrey Earnhardt blew a right-front tire and slammed the wall exiting Turn 2.

Matt DiBenedetto spun out in Turn 3 with 94 to go.

The second multi-car wreck flew with 69 to go. Hamlin was driving under Danica Patrick for the pass going into Turn 3 when he got loose on her inside and spun Patrick into the wall. The domino effect resulted in Trevor Bayne pushing Hamlin into the wall and Earnhardt slamming into the back of teammate Kasey Kahne, puncturing the radiator.

“It just ain’t got much of a front bumper on it to begin with,” Earnhardt said, “So, when you get in the back of somebody that hard it’s going to knock the top of the radiator off. It knocked the fitting off the top of the radiator and we are out.”

The final spin of the race came from Truex going around in Turn 4 with 69 to go.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

Tucker White
Tucker White
I've followed NASCAR for well over 20 years of my life, both as a fan and now as a member of the media. As of 2024, I'm on my ninth season as a traveling NASCAR beat writer. For all its flaws and dumb moments, NASCAR at its best produces some of the best action you'll ever see in the sport of auto racing. Case in point: Kyle Larson's threading the needle pass at Darlington Raceway on May 9, 2021. On used-up tires, racing on a worn surface and an aero package that put his car on the razor's edge of control, Larson demonstrated why he's a generational talent. Those are the stories I want to capture and break down. In addition to NASCAR, I also follow IndyCar and Formula 1. As a native of Knoxville, Tennessee, and a graduate of the University of Tennessee, I'm a diehard Tennessee Volunteers fan (especially in regards to Tennessee football). If covering NASCAR doesn't kill me, down the road, watching Tennessee football will. I'm also a diehard fan of the Atlanta Braves, and I lived long enough to see them win a World Series for the first time since 1995 (when I was just a year old). I've also sworn my fan allegiance to the Nashville Predators, though that's not paid out as much as the Braves. Furthermore, as a massive sports dork, I follow the NFL on a weekly basis. Though it's more out of an obligation than genuine passion (for sports dorks, following the NFL is basically an unwritten rule). Outside of sports, I'm a major cinema buff and a weeb. My favorite film is "Blazing Saddles" and my favorite anime is "Black Lagoon."

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