Martin Truex Jr outduels Hamlin for Martinsville Speedway win in the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 on Sunday afternoon after a rain-delay.
The NASCAR Cup Series is in the middle of a short track stretch on the schedule. After wrapping up the Bristol dirt race a couple of weeks ago, the Cup Series focuses its attention on Martinsville Speedway. A crucial 500 lap race on NASCAR’s tightest circuit. They call it ‘The Paperclip’ and it is difficult for drivers to find the right line. It takes experience to earn a win here.
The First Stage
Joey Logano started the race in first, but it was Denny Hamlin jumping out to an early lead. A caution came out on lap 37 after James Davison spins out. All the leaders came down pit road as the rain began to fall. The race was put on delay and pushed off to Sunday afternoon.
Denny Hamlin continued to lead as the race restarted. He had to fend off Ryan Blaney and was unable to do so. Blaney out braked Hamlin into turn three and was able to take the lead. Ryan Blaney was able to weave through lapped traffic and win the first stage.
Blaney Outduels Hamlin in the Second Stage
Ryan Blaney continued to show speed heading into the second stage. He moved out to an early lead as the rest of the field settled in behind him. The caution flag flew on lap 241 after Cody Ware hit the wall.
Ryan Blaney continued to lead after the caution, but Hamlin stayed in contention. The stage came to the white flag with Blaney and Hamlin side by side. Ryan Blaney was able to win the second stage by two feet over Denny Hamlin.
Martin Truex Jr Outduels Hamlin for Martinsville Speedway Win
Denny Hamlin and Ryan Blaney remained strong heading into the final stage of Sunday’s race. The two drivers stayed within a car length of each other through the entirety of stage three.
Stage three saw seven cautions. Most cautions were minor, but there was one major wreck on lap 386. Kyle Busch spun out after receiving contact from Chris Buescher. This incident turns the backstretch into a parking lot as 13 other drivers were involved.
Denny Hamlin and Ryan Blaney continued to lead after the cleanup. On lap 452, another caution came out with Chase Briscoe spinning out. All teams came down pit road, and Martin Truex Jr. won the race off pit road.
Truex Jr and Denny Hamlin battled on the following restart. Hamlin made the pass on Truex Jr, but it was not over. Martin Truex Jr. was able to battle back and battle once more for the lead. Truex Jr and Hamlin fought side by side for four-five laps before Truex Jr. completed the pass with forty laps remaining. This was all Truex Jr. needed as he was able to go the distance and win at Martinsville Speedway.
Martin Truex Jr. wins his second race of the season and is the first driver on the year to do so. We have seen a different winner in every single race this season up until this point. This could be a sign now since Martin Truex Jr. has won two out of the last three races. He is a driver that is hard to beat once he is on a roll. We could see this hot stretch begin now that the season has bloomed.