Clint Bowyer won Monday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway to end a 190-race winless drought.
Bowyer’s last Cup win came in October of 2012 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He scored his ninth career win in Monday’s race that was postponed because of snow from Sunday.
“Let me tell you something, Gene Haas, Tony Stewart, to give this old dog a fresh chance and fresh blood with a new opportunity,” Bowyer said. “Finally to get the 14 in victory lane is just a weight off the shoulders. It’s been a long time. You start to question if you can get it done or not. To have it come at this place meant a lot.”
Bowyer’s win was his first at Martinsville. (See Martinsville Winners)
“This place is an acquired taste,” he said. “When I first got here I was a duck out of water just like everybody else that starts here at first. I learned from Jimmie Johnson and learned from Jeff Gordon, sometimes the hard way, but nonetheless I learned over the years and finally put it to good use. To keep Kyle Busch, one of the best in the business behind you in those closing laps, the nerves were through the roof. It’s unbelievable how it all came true and to have everybody here.” (Listen to MRN Post-Race Interview)
Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top five.
Joey Logano, Alex Bowman, AJ Allmendinger, Chase Elliott and Brad Keselowski completed the first 10 finishers.
Denny Hamlin and Blaney won the day’s first two stages. (2018 Stage Points)
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series now takes the Easter weekend off before returning to action at Texas Motor Speedway on April 8th.
How Bowyer Won: He led a race-high 215 laps in what turned out to be a dominating performance. Once Bowyer wrestled the lead away from Blaney he led the rest of the way and was easily able to outdistance Busch at the checkered flag.
Who Had a Good Day: Kyle Busch has finished in the top-five in his last six starts at Martinsville and come home runner-up in three of the last four races of 2018 (Read More)…Blaney had his best finish at Martinsville in his fifth race and led 145 laps (Read More)…Truex Jr. has finished in the top five in consecutive races for the first time ever at Martinsville…Hendrick Motorsports had two drivers in the top 10 for the first time this season (Read More).
Who Had a Bad Day: Bubba Wallace had mechanical problems after making contact early in the race and finished 34th…Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had to start the race in a back-up car after a crash in practice but didn’t fare much better in Monday’s race suffering problems and ending up 18 laps down…Austin Dillon and Jamie McMurray were involved in the day’s only incident that caused a caution.
What Else Happened: By Martinsville standards it was a pretty tame day. There were only four caution flags with two for stage breaks and another a competition yellow on lap 50. Other than the Dillon-McMurray incident, the day was clean and green and featured different drivers showcasing dominance including Blaney and finally Bowyer on his way to the popular win.
Quotable: “Seems like we’re on our own island, then we get beat by someone else on their own island,” Kyle Busch on his second-place finish.
Notable: Bowyer led more laps Monday (215) than in his prior 159 Cup starts combined (214 in prior 159 starts combined)…He became the only driver to win in all three active manufacturers (Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota…Logano has finished in the top 10 in five of the six races in 2018.