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NASCAR Cup Martinsville: Byron leads emotional Hendrick 1-2-3

William Byron capped an emotional Hendrick Motorsports 40th anniversary weekend with an impressive overtime win in the NASCAR Cup race at Martinsville Speedway.

Byron was the first lead-lap car to make a green flag pitstop – uncharacteristic on the short track – in the middle of the final stage and when the cycle of stops was completed, he emerged as the leader for the first time in the race.

Byron soon built a big advantage and appeared set for an uneventful victory, until John Hunter Nemechek lost his right-front tyre and slammed into the Turns 3 and 4 wall with two of the scheduled 500 laps to go, which brought out a caution and sent the race into overtime.

The top nine cars stayed on the track and after a brief battle with his team-mate Chase Elliott, Byron cleared for the lead on the restart and held on to beat another team-mate in Kyle Larson to the chequered flag by 0.550 seconds, with Larson and Elliot completing the team 1-2-3.

It was 40 years ago at the spring Martinsville race that Geoffrey Bodine won the first Cup race for team owner Rick Hendrick, which kept his fledgling organisation in business and evolved into NASCAR’s most successful teams.

Hendrick, who was scheduled to drive the pace car, was forced to miss Sunday’s race due to recent knee replacement surgery.

"I just want to thank Chase [Elliott] for racing me clean there. Could get really physical at the end," Byron said. "He gave me a shot, which is expected. We all finish it off.

"Just so proud of everyone at Hendrick Motorsports. Grew up a big Hendrick fan. To be here for the 40th anniversary, all that goes into just this organisation, all the people, it's all about the people. Just want to thank Mr. Hendrick and [wife] Linda and everyone involved. It's pretty awesome.

William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports, Axalta Ruby Chevrolet Camaro

William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports, Axalta Ruby Chevrolet Camaro

Photo by: Danny Hansen / NKP / Motorsport Images

"Bad ass to win at Martinsville. We've been struggling at the short tracks. Just kept inching up on it. I got a great team. They just kept my head in it. It stunk to do a restart there at the end like that, but that's the way it goes."

The weekend could not have gone better for Hendrick Motorsports as Larson got pole and all four of the team’s drivers finished in the top eight. The Hendrick 1-2-3 finish was the first for any team at Martinsville.

Earlier in the year Byron kicked off the 40th anniversary season for Hendrick with a victory in the season-opening Daytona 500.

The track has also been the site of tragedy for the team, as a Hendrick plane crashed on the way to the track in 2004 and killed 10 people, including Hendrick’s son, brother and two nieces.

Behind the top three, Bubba Wallace was the closest challenger in fourth for 23XI Racing, as Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney rounded out the top five.

Runner-up at Richmond last time out Joey Logano took sixth for Team Penske, ahead of Tyler Reddick (23XI Racing) and Hendrick’s Alex Bowman, as Stewart-Haas duo Ryan Preece and Chase Briscoe completed the top 10.

NASCAR Cup Martinsville - Race results

CLA DRIVER # MANUFACTURER LAPS TIME INTERVAL PITS POINTS
1 W. ByronHENDRICK MOTORSPORTS 24 Chevrolet 415

2:52'07.636

  5 46
2 K. LarsonHENDRICK MOTORSPORTS 5 Chevrolet 415

+0.550

2:52'08.186

0.550 6 53
3 C. ElliottHENDRICK MOTORSPORTS 9 Chevrolet 415

+0.790

2:52'08.426

0.240 6 49
4 B. Wallace23XI RACING 23 Toyota 415

+0.824

2:52'08.460

0.034 6 51
5 R. BlaneyTEAM PENSKE 12 Ford 415

+1.023

2:52'08.659

0.199 8 32
6 J. LoganoTEAM PENSKE 22 Ford 415

+1.070

2:52'08.706

0.047 6 42
7 T. Reddick23XI RACING 45 Toyota 415

+1.320

2:52'08.956

0.250 7 30
8 A. BowmanHENDRICK MOTORSPORTS 48 Chevrolet 415

+1.433

2:52'09.069

0.113 6 34
9 R. PreeceSTEWART-HAAS RACING 41 Ford 415

+1.449

2:52'09.085

0.016 7 28
10 C. BriscoeSTEWART-HAAS RACING 14 Ford 415

+1.566

2:52'09.202

0.117 6 38
11 D. HamlinJOE GIBBS RACING 11 Toyota 415

+1.798

2:52'09.434

0.232 8 40
12 E. JonesLEGACY MOTOR CLUB 43 Toyota 415

+1.898

2:52'09.534

0.100 8 25
13 T. GillilandFRONT ROW MOTORSPORTS 38 Ford 415

+2.298

2:52'09.934

0.400 7 24
14 R. ChastainTRACKHOUSE RACING 1 Chevrolet 415

+8.601

2:52'16.237

6.303 7 25
15 C. BuescherRFK RACING 17 Ford 414

+1 Lap

2:52'09.942

1 Lap 7 22
16 K. BuschRICHARD CHILDRESS RACING 8 Chevrolet 414

+1 Lap

2:52'10.057

0.115 7 22
17
C. HocevarSPIRE MOTORSPORTS
77 Chevrolet 414

+1 Lap

2:52'10.798

0.741 6 20
18 M. Truex JrJOE GIBBS RACING 19 Toyota 414

+1 Lap

2:52'11.162

0.364 8 25
19
T. GibbsJOE GIBBS RACING
54 Toyota 414

+1 Lap

2:52'11.523

0.361 8 18
20 N. GragsonSTEWART-HAAS RACING 10 Ford 414

+1 Lap

2:52'11.819

0.296 7 17
21 M. McDowellFRONT ROW MOTORSPORTS 34 Ford 414

+1 Lap

2:52'12.426

0.607 9 16
22 D. SuarezTRACKHOUSE RACING 99 Chevrolet 414

+1 Lap

2:52'13.023

0.597 9 15
23 A. CindricTEAM PENSKE 2 Ford 414

+1 Lap

2:52'14.235

1.212 6 14
24 B. KeselowskiRFK RACING 6 Ford 414

+1 Lap

2:52'15.475

1.240 8 13
25 J. BerrySTEWART-HAAS RACING 4 Ford 413

+2 Laps

2:52'10.284

1 Lap 7 15
26 K. GralaRICK WARE RACING 15 Ford 413

+2 Laps

2:52'10.753

0.469 7 11
27 J. WilliamsKAULIG RACING 16 Chevrolet 413

+2 Laps

2:52'13.132

2.379 8  
28 D. HemricKAULIG RACING 31 Chevrolet 413

+2 Laps

2:52'13.311

0.179 9 9
29 R. Stenhouse JrJTG DAUGHERTY RACING 47 Chevrolet 413

+2 Laps

2:52'15.883

2.572 8 8
30 J. HaleyRICK WARE RACING 51 Ford 413

+2 Laps

2:52'17.619

1.736 9 7
31
Z. SmithSPIRE MOTORSPORTS
71 Chevrolet 412

+3 Laps

2:52'09.646

1 Lap 8 6
32 C. LajoieSPIRE MOTORSPORTS 7 Chevrolet 412

+3 Laps

2:52'11.156

1.510 8 5
33 H. BurtonWOOD BROTHERS RACING 21 Ford 412

+3 Laps

2:52'13.606

2.450 8 4
34 A. DillonRICHARD CHILDRESS RACING 3 Chevrolet 412

+3 Laps

2:52'14.544

0.938 8 3
35 C. BellJOE GIBBS RACING 20 Toyota 411

+4 Laps

2:52'16.719

1 Lap 9 2
36 J. NemechekLEGACY MOTOR CLUB 42 Toyota 396

+19 Laps

2:39'40.877

15 Laps 7 1
37 D. StarrPOWER SOURCE 66 Ford 311

+104 Laps

2:12'03.205

85 Laps 8

 

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