Martin Truex Jr. outclasses teammate Denny Hamlin to win again at Martinsville


MARTINSVILLE, Va .– Martin Truex Jr. admits being surprised by his success at Martinsville Speedway.
Truex won a touching, lap-long duel for the lead with teammate Denny Hamlin in the rain-delayed NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday night, winning for the third time in the last four stops on the 0.526-mile oval – the oldest and the shortest. in the series.

“This place has become a playground for us, I guess,” Truex said in Victory Lane. “We didn’t have the best car of the day, but we kept working on it and never gave up on it. “

Truex, who nudged Hamlin several times in the corners and attempted to get inside on the straights without success, eventually made the pass with 15 laps to go, ducking under Hamlin at the exit of the second bend. He sailed to victory without further challenge as Hamlin and Chase Elliott fought the rest of the way for second.

Truex became the first repeat winner of NASCAR’s Best Series this season.

The race was rainy after 42 laps on Saturday night and ended as the second part of a double title that started with the completion of the rain-delayed Xfinity Series race starting on Friday night.

Elliott, who won here last fall en route to the series championship, held Hamlin for second place. Hamlin was third, followed by William Byron and Kyle Larson.

“It was a lot of fun there at the end, racing with Denny,” Truex said of teammate Joe Gibbs Racing. “We ran clean and we managed to win. “

The Gibbs team had their four drivers finished in the top 10 as Christopher Bell finished seventh and Kyle Busch 10th, leaving team owner Joe Gibbs excited and relieved.

“I was just praying that Denny and Martin didn’t come together in the lead,” Gibbs said.

The result was not only disappointing for Hamlin, who had a dominant car and led 276 laps, but also for Ryan Blaney, who won the first two stages and led 157 laps but dragged an air pistol out of his. pit after the final stop and was sent back to the 19th field.

Blaney rallied to finish 11th, but earlier he and Hamlin were dominant.

Blaney passed Hamlin to take the lead on lap 75 and took the win in stage 1 of 130 laps, and stage 2 went pretty much the same. Hamlin was quick at the start of the race, pulling comfortably in front, but Blaney ultimately knocked him down to win this stage as well.

Hamlin’s third place was his seventh best streak in the top five in eight races.

“We had a really fast car for about 20 laps, and then it would go away,” Hamlin said. “We just keep running in the top three every week. Every step, every arrival – we are there. We just need to improve a little. We hardly miss him. “

The race featured several drastic changes in fortunes, perhaps no bigger than for Joey Logano. He risked being overtaken at the end of the first stage, but played with the others halfway through the race, staying on the track to position himself as most of the leaders clashed.

It worked because another warning flew soon after, allowing him to look for the new tires most of the other teams already had and stay close to the front for the remainder of the journey.

Logano finished sixth.

The misfortune was the case for Alex Bowman, Brad Keselowski and several others due to a large back-up involving more than a dozen cars on lap 387. Bowman had reached second place before getting caught in the mess that ended his day, and two-time winner Keselowski at Martinsville also had to call it a day after the sinking.

“It’s just part of the short track deal,” Keselowski said.

The accident started when Kyle Busch and Chris Buescher gathered at the exit of Turn 2.

Daniel Suarez was also involved and circled the oval to the entrance to Turn 1, got out of his car when it caught fire and walked away, catching fire.


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