NASCAR Martinsville: Truex recovers from penalty for first Cup win of 2020

Martin Truex Jr recovered from a pitlane infringement penalty to dominate the NASCAR Cup Series race at Martinsville and score his first victory of the 2020 season

NASCAR Martinsville: Truex recovers from penalty for first Cup win of 2020

Truex's Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry was sent to the back of the field, after he incorrectly cut across the line marking when drivers have to commit to entering the pitlane at the end of the first stage.

The #19 restarted in 22nd place and slowly began to make his way through the field in the first ever night race to be held at the 0.5-mile Martinsville circuit.

By the end of the second 130-lap stage, Truex had recovered to 15th and, helped by some caution periods, was in the top five by Lap 330 of a total 500.

Assisted by back-marker traffic, Truex was able to close in on leading Penske duo Joey Logano and Brad Keselowsi, taking a lead he was not to lose on lap 370 and pulled away to take his first victory since his crushing win in the fall Martinsville race in 2019 by 4.7s over Ryan Blaney.

Blaney, who had been randomly drawn on pole position in his #12 Penske Ford Mustang struggled in the early stages of the race, dropping to a lap down due to excessive tyre wear - something which affected the whole field.

Having dropped to as low as 19th during the first stage, Blaney recovered to finish runner-up in the second segment and took the lead early in the final stage.

However, during a round of caution pitstops, he was penalised after a crew member jumped over the pitwall, sending Blaney to the rear of the field.

He then carved his way through the pack, and with 50 laps to go, was hustling team-mates Logano and Keselowski for second behind Truex.

Blaney passed the two to record a fifth top 10 result of the season, as Keselowski and stage one winner Logano made it a Penske 2-3-4.

Chase Elliott was the lead Chevrolet Camaro finisher in fifth for Hendrick Motorsports, with team-mate Alex Bowman in sixth - his second top 10 finish since NASCAR resumed its season following the two-month COVID-19 forced hiatus.

Matt DiBenedetto logged a seventh-place finish in his Wood Brothers Racing Mustang entry as William Byron and Kurt Busch recorded decent finishes for Hendrick and Chip Ganassi Racing, respectively.

Jimmie Johnson, whose victory in stage two was just his third ever since NASCAR adopted the stage format in 2017, was 10th, having looked comfortable in the lead.

The seven-time champion just held onto 10th after a late race battle with Richard Petty Motorsports' Bubba Wallace Jr - his Camaro running a special "Black Lives Matter" livery.

Wallace was able to take fifth and sixth in the first two stages, owing to clever strategy work from his pit-crew, but a later slow stop ruined his chances of improving on his 11th place finish.

All three Stewart-Haas Racing cars were hobbled throughout the race by battery issues, with Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer and Aric Almirola being forced to pit on occasion to rectify the problems.

The trio could only manage 15th, 17th and 33rd, respectively - all at least one lap down.

JGR duo Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin endured a torrid race.

The #18 and #11 were able to recover from the early struggles which affected most of the field, and their misery was further compounded when Joey Gase did not pit under a caution, meaning they were not given the free pass and wave around - leaving them marooned in 19th and 24th, with team-mate Erik Jones, 20th.

Austin Dillon had to be helped from his #3 Richard Childress Racing machine late on after a panel on his car was bent which allowed hot fumes into the cockpit, overwhelming Dillon.

He was taken to the in-field medical centre and given oxygen but was released shortly afterwards.

Martinsville Results (500 laps)

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Martin Truex Jr. Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 3h23m56.s
2 Ryan Blaney Team Penske Ford 4.705s
3 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford 5.313s
4 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 9.103s
5 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 11.481s
6 Alex Bowman Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 12.926s
7 Matt DiBenedetto Wood Brothers Racing Ford 14.089s
8 William Byron Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 14.720s
9 Kurt Busch Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 17.186s
10 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 18.640s
11 Darrell Wallace Jr. Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet 18.810s
12 Ryan Newman Roush Fenway Racing Ford 20.356s
13 Chris Buescher Roush Fenway Racing Ford 20.690s
14 Michael McDowell Front Row Motorsports Ford 21.685s
15 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 1 Lap
16 Tyler Reddick Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 1 Lap
17 Clint Bowyer Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 1 Lap
18 Corey LaJoie Go FAS Racing Ford 1 Lap
19 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 1 Lap
20 Erik Jones Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 3 Laps
21 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 3 Laps
22 Ty Dillon Germain Racing Chevrolet 3 Laps
23 Matt Kenseth Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 3 Laps
24 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 3 Laps
25 John Hunter Nemechek Front Row Motorsports Ford 3 Laps
26 Ryan Preece JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 4 Laps
27 Daniel Suarez Gaunt Brothers Racing Toyota 6 Laps
28 Christopher Bell Leavine Family Racing Toyota 6 Laps
29 Cole Custer Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 6 Laps
30 Brennan Poole Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 6 Laps
31 J.J. Yeley Rick Ware Racing Ford 7 Laps
32 David Starr Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet 21 Laps
33 Aric Almirola Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Battery
34 Quin Houff StarCom Racing Chevrolet 26 Laps
35 Joey Gase Petty Ware Racing Ford 36 Laps
36 Garrett Smithley Spire Motorsports Chevrolet 50 Laps
37 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Accident
38 Reed Sorenson Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet Electrical
39 Timmy Hill MBM Motorsports Toyota Fuel pump
shares
comments
NASCAR bans Confederate flags from all tracks with immediate effect
Previous article

NASCAR bans Confederate flags from all tracks with immediate effect

Next article

NASCAR's Wallace should be "proud" of his activism against racial injustice

NASCAR's Wallace should be "proud" of his activism against racial injustice
Load comments
How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory Plus

How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory

From villain to hero, Kyle Larson’s journey to the 2021 NASCAR Cup title comes straight from the Hollywood blockbuster scripts. While Larson had to reach his lifelong goal the hard way and go through a very public shaming after a ban for using a racial slur, his talents shone long before his name grabbed the headlines for both the right and the wrong reasons

NASCAR
Nov 10, 2021
How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022 Plus

How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022

It’s not just Formula 1 that’s set for upheaval in 2022, as the NASCAR Cup Series adopts its Next Gen cars that will cast any in-built advantages aside and require teams to adopt a totally new way of operating. Far more than just a change of machinery, the new cars amount to a shift in NASCAR's core philosophy

NASCAR
Oct 12, 2021
Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR Plus

Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR

Bubba Wallace claimed his maiden NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega on Monday to become the first Black victor in the category since Wendell Scott in 1963. Both Wallace and Scott had faced obstacles and racism in their paths to their breakthrough wins, and NASCAR is trying to put it right with its range of diversity programmes

NASCAR
Oct 5, 2021
Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI Plus

Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI

In a career that has had many ups and downs, Kurt Busch has been written off many times before. But facing career uncertainty after the sale of Chip Ganassi's NASCAR team, the 2004 Cup champion has found a new berth at Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan's 23XI organisation - which underlines his enduring value

NASCAR
Aug 31, 2021
The F1 nearly-man winding back the clock in NASCAR’s European cousin Plus

The F1 nearly-man winding back the clock in NASCAR’s European cousin

A multiple F3000 race winner, Marc Goossens was on the precipice of making Formula 1 in the 1990s - but a lack of budget left him without a path to the promised land. Turning to an illustrious racing career in sportscars, Goossens left the endurance circuit to try his hand at racing stock cars - and now calls the NASCAR Euro Series home

NASCAR
Jul 1, 2021
Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR Plus

Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR

There has never been a full-time British driver in the NASCAR Cup. But Alex Sedgwick, who is rising through the stock car ranks, wants that to change and could be a trailblazer for European talents to reach the top echelons of the NASCAR ladder

NASCAR
Feb 28, 2021
How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport Plus

How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport

It's 20 years since legendary driver Dale Earnhardt Sr died at the Daytona 500, but the legacy of his crash continues today through the pioneering safety work done by NASCAR

NASCAR
Feb 18, 2021
The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021 Plus

The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season

NASCAR
Feb 12, 2021