There usually are bent fenders and damaged tempers when NASCAR goes short track racing. Sunday’s (10/27) First Data 500 was no exception. Drivers leaned on each other and bumped each other from start to finish it seemed. There was a total of 11 caution periods for 69 laps during the race.
Martin Truex Jr. made it known early that if he was not the going to be the winner of the race you would have to beat him. Martin was the winner of both stages one and two of the race. He was one of three drivers that would exchange the lead only four times. Martin led from lap 31 to lap 253 and again from lap 260 to lap 500. That gave him a race high and a career high of 462 laps led during the race.
Obviously since he was the leader on lap 500 (as pointed out above) of the 500 lap race he was the winner. The win is his first at Martinsville in NASCAR’s top division, his third in the 2019 post-season and his seventh of the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. The most important thing about his win, Martin becomes the first driver in the Round of Eight to lock himself into the Championship Four with a shot to win the 2019 championship.
William Byron finished the race in second place. Brad Keselowski crossed the finish line third. Denny Hamlin claimed a fourth place finish with Ryan Blaney rounding out the top five. See the complete race results for the First Data 500 NASCAR Playoffs race here.
Martin Treux Jr. now sits at the top of the point standings and the playoffs standings in the Round of Eight. Denny Hamlin is in second place (24 points above the cut offline). Kyle Busch holds third place in the points (17 points above the cut offline). Joey Logano currently holds the fourth spot in the point standings (14 points above the cut offline). See the complete Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series point standings here.
Following the race Sunday, there was a scuffle between Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano. It began on the track during the race and spilled over the after the race. There were other incidents on the track during the race that may have repercussions as well. We will have to see what transpires as the final three races of the season take place in the coming weeks.
By: Buck Stevens