The Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 started Saturday night (4/10) at Martinsville Speedway. However, thanks to rain it ended Sunday night (4/11) with Martin Truex Jr. stealing the checkered flag.
Saturday was a day of rain in the Martinsville, Virginia area. After a lengthy delay, the officials got the track dried and were able to start the race under the lights. Unfortunately, when the yellow flag came out on lap 37 of the 500-lap race, the rain also began again. That caused NASCAR to postpone the race until Sunday afternoon.
Sunday the race was resumed in the sunlight. Early on it appeared that Ryan Blaney was going to be the car to beat. He was able to capture the win in stages one and two. However, it was Denny Hamlin that would begin controlling the race in the final stage of the race.
Denny had a car that was very strong on re-starts. There were plenty of those. There was a total of 15 caution periods in the race with nine coming in the third and final stage. Denny was able to race out to the lead following most caution periods allowing him to lead a race high 276 laps.
It was Denny’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate that took the lead when it counted. Martin Truex Jr. continued to work on making his car better. When Denny’s car faded nearing the end of the race, Martin’s car continued to race forward until he was able to take the lead with 16 laps remaining. Martin held that lead to claim his third Martinsville win in the Cup Series. In fact, it is also his third Martinsville win in the past four races at the track. Martin also becomes the first driver in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season to win more than one race.
Chase Elliott was able to also get around Denny Hamlin in the final laps to claim a second-place finish. Denny was relegated to third place. William Byron claimed fourth with Kyle Larson rounded out the top five. See the complete race results for the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 here.
Denny Hamlin wasn’t able to hold on for the win at Martinsville. However, he was able to hold on to the points lead following the race. Martin Truex Jr.’s win moved him up a spot to second place and pushed Joey Logano back a spot to third place. Kyle Larson held stead in fourth place. Ryan Blaney moved up to take over fifth place. See the complete NASCAR Cup Series point standings here.
The drivers and teams head just a short drive east for this week’s race at Richmond Raceway. The Toyota Owners 400 will take place Sunday, April 18th.
By: Buck Stevens