Martin Truex Jr. scored his second victory of the year at Martinsville Speedway Sunday night becoming the first multi-race winner in the NASCAR Cup Series this season.
It was his 29th victory in 558 Cup Series starts and his third win at Martinsville Speedway. He only led 20 laps in his No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota but his car was dominant when it mattered most.
“Yeah, it was interesting how it all played out there,” Truex said. “I thought throughout the day we were a third to a fifth-place car in there. At one point in the middle of the race we got off a little bit, probably a sixth or seventh-place car. It was kind of a weird day.
“Proud of the guys for working hard on it. They did a great job. That last pit stop we were able to get us the lead. Couldn’t quite hold off the 11 (Hamlin) on that restart. He was really fast firing off. Just tried to stay with him and take care of my car. Knew there was enough laps left that tire wear in the long run was going to come into play.
“He started getting tight, our car was getting better and better. We were able to take advantage of it. Really happy. For whatever reason our car really turned on when the lights went down. Always good when a plan comes together and it works out the way you hoped it would.”
The Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 race was originally scheduled for Saturday night but due to persistent rain, only 42 laps were completed before it was postponed to Sunday at 4 p.m. where it resumed under caution, with Denny Hamlin leading the field to green.
It was typical short-track racing with 15 cautions for 102 laps.
The 14th caution occurred on Lap 386 and was a game-changer for several drivers and teams. It began when Chris Buescher and Kyle Busch made contact, bringing the field to a halt, collecting 10 more cars in the ensuing chaos, and leaving the cars of Ryan Preece and Daniel Suarez on fire.
Three of the Hendrick Motorsports cars, however, finished in the top five. Chase Elliott earned a runner-up finish, William Byron was fourth and Kyle Larson was fifth.
Elliott described the finish as “hard fought.”
“We were not great, he said, “our strong suit was kind of early on in the run, then really faded hard, too hard there latter part of a run. But we never got one of those super long runs, which is probably a good thing for us because we were struggling on that end. But, yeah, proud we could fight back. We had a long day with strategy not going our way, restart lane choice at times was tough. I’m glad we were able to get back in the fight there and give ourselves a chance.”
Truex’s teammate, Denny Hamlin and Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney had the most impressive cars throughout much of the race. Hamlin led a race-high 276 laps but was unable to carry the momentum to the end, finishing third.
Blaney won Stage 1 and 2, leading 157 laps, but received a penalty for an air hose out of the team’s pit stall on his final pit stop. After restarting as the last car on the lead lap in 19th place he rebounded to finish 11th.
Hamlin described the issues he faced with his car.
“Had a really good car on the short run all day. Got great restarts, was fast for 25, 30 laps. Then it seemed like guys would start catching us. Unfortunately, it was just too many laps there at the end that we couldn’t hold those guys off. At least gave ourselves a chance by getting a good restart there and getting in front of Martin.
“Ultimately they were running better, turning the corner, getting off than we were. Came up short again.”
Hamlin leads the points standings with 379 points followed by Truex (-76), Joey Logano (-77), Kyle Larson (-99) and Ryan Blaney (-107).
Next up, the Cup Series travels to Richmond Raceway on Sunday, April 18 at 3 p.m. ET with broadcast coverage on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
NASCAR Cup Series Race Number 8 Race Results
72nd Annual Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 – Saturday, April 10, 2021
Martinsville Speedway – Martinsville, VA – 0.526 – Mile Paved
Total Race Length – 500 Laps – 263. Miles
|1||7||19||Martin Truex Jr.||Bass Pro Toyota||500||3||3||0||56||Running|
|2||5||9||Chase Elliott||NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet||500||4||4||0||49||Running|
|3||2||11||Denny Hamlin||FedEd Office Toyota||500||2||2||0||52||Running|
|4||3||24||William Byron||Liberty University Chevrolet||500||6||7||0||42||Running|
|5||19||5||Kyle Larson||HendrickCars.com Chevrolet||500||5||0||0||38||Running|
|6||1||22||Joey Logano||Shell Pennzoil Ford||500||9||0||0||33||Running|
|7||23||20||Christopher Bell||Toyota Toyota||500||10||0||0||31||Running|
|8||13||8||Tyler Reddick||Childress Vineyards Chevrolet||500||0||8||0||32||Running|
|9||9||4||Kevin Harvick||Busch NA Ford||500||0||0||0||28||Running|
|10||12||18||Kyle Busch||Snickers Peanut Brownie Toyota||500||0||9||0||29||Running|
|11||4||12||Ryan Blaney||Menards/Pennzoil Ford||500||1||1||0||46||Running|
|12||22||21||Matt DiBenedetto||Motorcraft Quick Lane Ford||500||0||0||0||25||Running|
|13||15||17||Chris Buescher||Fastenal Ford||500||0||0||0||24||Running|
|14||18||3||Austin Dillon||American Ethanol Chevrolet||500||0||0||0||23||Running|
|15||6||47||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Kroger/Crest Chevrolet||500||0||0||0||22||Running|
|16||25||23||Bubba Wallace||DoorDash Toyota||500||0||0||0||21||Running|
|17||27||42||Ross Chastain||Chevrolet Accessories Chevrolet||500||0||0||0||20||Running|
|18||26||41||Cole Custer||HaasTooling.com Ford||500||0||0||0||19||Running|
|19||8||6||Ryan Newman||Guaranteed Rate Ford||499||0||0||0||18||Running|
|20||31||10||Aric Almirola||Smithfield Anytime Favorites Ford||499||0||0||0||17||Running|
|21||21||1||Kurt Busch||GEARWRENCH Chevrolet||498||0||10||0||17||Running|
|22||37||15||James Davison||Jacob Companies Chevrolet||494||0||0||0||15||Running|
|23||33||52||Josh Bilicki||Insurance King Ford||493||0||0||0||14||Running|
|24||29||0||Quin Houff||Gardner Marsh Chevrolet||493||0||0||0||13||Running|
|25||28||53||JJ Yeley(i)||Fatboy Ice Cream Chevrolet||492||0||0||0||0||Running|
|26||35||38||Anthony Alfredo #||iRacing Ford||492||0||0||0||11||Running|
|27||24||14||Chase Briscoe #||Rush Truck Centers Ford||491||0||0||0||10||Running|
|28||32||51||Cody Ware(i)||Nurtec ODT Chevrolet||490||0||0||0||0||Running|
|29||36||78||BJ McLeod(i)||CorvetteParts.net Ford||478||0||0||0||0||Running|
|30||16||43||Erik Jones||Petty’s Garage Chevrolet||403||0||0||0||7||Rear Gear|
|31||14||34||Michael McDowell||Fr8Auctions Ford||387||0||0||0||6||Accident|
|32||11||99||Daniel Suarez||Camping World Chevrolet||386||0||0||0||5||Accident|
|33||10||2||Brad Keselowski||Autotrader Ford||385||8||6||0||12||Accident|
|34||20||48||Alex Bowman||Ally Chevrolet||384||7||5||0||13||Accident|
|35||30||77||Justin Haley(i)||Diamond Creek Water Chevrolet||383||0||0||0||0||Accident|
|36||17||37||* Ryan Preece||Louisiana Hot Sauce Chevrolet||382||0||0||0||1||Accident|
|37||34||7||Corey LaJoie||ARK.io Chevrolet||374||0||0||0||1||Accident|