Martin Truex Jr captures first win of the NASCAR Cup Series 2020 season at Martinsville Speedway in the Blue Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500.
The NASCAR Cup Series continued with more weeknight racing at Martinsville Speedway. The speedway installed lights back in 2017, and it was the first time they had a chance to use them for the cup series. With great racing and great visuals, the only thing missing from the Wednesday night race was the fans.
Ryan Blaney shared the front row with Aric Almirola, and it was Almirola jumping out to the early lead.
Joey Logano followed Almirola and was able to complete a pass for the lead on lap 20. With Logano at the helm, everybody else filed in behind him, with several drivers falling off the pace early. Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney, and many others fell one lap down before the race reached the competition caution.
When the competition caution came out on lap 62, Joey Logano won the race off pit road and continued to pave the way in the first stage. Without any challenges, Joey Logano wins the first stage of the Blue Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville.
Joey Logano was able to keep his lead heading into the second stage. The stage ran caution-free for the entire 130 laps.
Logano ran into some issues trying to race around lapped traffic, opening the door for his closest competitors. Jimmie Johnson was able to race to the inside of Logano and made a clear pass for the lead. Johnson was then able to take control of the second stage win.
Jimmie Johnson took the green flag at the start of the final stage, but Ryan Blaney raced him hard to take the lead on the following lap. Logano followed Blaney on the outside and quickly passed him for the lead.
Ryan Blaney did not give up on Logano by staying right with him. On lap 307, Blaney repassed Logano for the lead. Shortly afterward, the caution came out, followed by a big round of pit stops. Blaney and his team had a slow stop, which was followed by a penalty for having his pit crew over the wall too soon.
Joey Logano retook the lead, but Brad Keselowski was too much to handle. After Logano held him off for multiple laps, Keselowski finally made his way around for the race lead. The Keselowski-Logano battle, however, opened the door for Martin Truex Jr.
While the two Penske teammates were battling for the top spot, Martin Truex Jr. put his No. 19 Toyota in the right place to take the lead. He would not be denied on his way to earning his second straight win at Martinsville. After leading the final 129 laps, Martin Truex Jr came home with his first victory of the year.
The Martinsville night race adds an incredible challenge for drivers. The sun is out when the race begins, then it sets during the race, making the track temperature cool significantly. A team may have a car dialed in to begin the race, but then off the pace as the track conditions change.
Martin Truex Jr Captures First Win
On Wednesday night, Martin Truex Jr. was patient at the beginning of the race. He was not pushing the issue and understood his car’s needs. Throughout the race, his team made the right adjustments, and Truex Jr. was able to take control of the final stage. The victory came later than normal for him this late in the season, but, once Truex Jr. captures a first win, he usually goes on a hot streak.
Martin Truex Jr is always a contender and never one to count out. Capturing his first win of the season makes the rest come easier.