Martin Truex Jr. dominated Sunday’s First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway to secure his spot in the Championship 4.
One year after losing the lead in the final turn at Martinsville after contact from Joey Logano, Truex went out and led 464 of 500 laps for his first win at the .526-mile track.
“I can’t believe we won Martinsville,” Truex Jr. said. “I used to be terrible here, just an awesome bunch of guys, what can I say? Can’t say enough about everybody on our team and all these guys out here. To get a grandfather clock is pretty exciting”
William Byron, Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top five.
Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Kyle Larson and Ryan Newman completed the first 10 finishers.
Hamlin and Logano were involved in an incident on pit road when the two drivers confronted each other about contact that was made on track. Things escalate when crew members became involved before the two drivers were separated. Read More
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs continue next week at Texas Motor Speedway.
How Truex Jr. Won: Domination. There is no other word to describe how good Truex Jr. was on Sunday at Martinsville. While he did have some challenges down the stretch with a series of restarts from some late race cautions, Truex Jr. passed those with flying colors and once he got by Byron on the final return to green easily pulled away for the win.
Who Had a Good Day: Byron matched his career best finish, finished in the top-five in consecutive races for the first time in his career after finishing fifth last week (Read More)…Keselowski scored his eighth straight Martinsville top-10 finish…Hamlin notched his fourth straight top-five finish of 2019 and his seventh straight top-five finish on a short-track.
Who Had a Bad Day: Chase Elliott put himself in a must win situation over the next two races in order to make the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Read More). After starting from the rear of the field because of an engine change, Elliott worked his way to the front only to be derailed by a broken rear axle…Aric Almirola and Jimmie Johnson were eliminated from the race after their machines received damage in a multi-car accident…Kyle Busch had an on track incident and ended an eight race streak of top-five finishes at Martinsville.
What Else Happened: Much like the spring race that was dominated by Brad Keselowski, the 2019 rules package made a significant impact on the ability to pass at Martinsville. Getting the lead and staying away from turbulent air made all the difference in allowing drivers to pull away from the field once they grabbed the point.
Quotable: “We’ve got three more weeks and I’m gonna make it hell for him,” Almirola after his incident with Kyle Busch put him out of the race.
Notables: Truex Jr. swept both stages and the race, the fourth time in 2019 a driver swept and won (Stage Points)…He will be in the Championship 4 for the fourth time in his career and the third straight year…464 laps is the most led in a race since Kyle Petty led 484 in his October 1992 Rockingham win.