Photo by Jared C. Tilton | Getty Images
Martin Truex Jr. would collect the prized grandfather clock and the victory in the first-ever race under the lights at Martinsville Speedway Wednesday night.
The victory gives Truex his first on the season and a bid in the playoffs. The win also marks the second time Truex has won at Martinsville. He’s now won back-to-back races at the track.
Ryan Blaney, who started on the pole, was quickly overtaken by Aric Almirola through the first lap of the race. After a flat from Austin Dillon led to a caution on lap four, Blaney was able to reclaim the lead. After the wave of the green flag on the restart, Blaney would fade back and Joey Logano would quickly claim his first lead of the day off turn four going into lap 21.
Logano would quickly lap over half of the field and push to a five-plus second lead at the competition caution on lap 60. Even through another caution and pit cycle, Logano would maintain the lead and net his third stage win on the year at the conclusion of lap 130.
Logano would continue to use runs on the inside off the turns to maintain the lead at the beginning of stage two. The No. 22 for Team Penske would quickly push to a second-and-a-half lead halfway through the second stage. Nine-time Martinsville winner Jimmie Johnson, after finishing the first stage in third, would push pass Bowyer to claim second. Johnson would continue to press and chip away at Logano’s lead until the 44-year-old would pass him on the back straightaway on lap 202.
Reminiscent to Logano, Johnson would push his lead to one-and-a-half seconds at the conclusion of stage two. The stage win would be Johnson’s first of the season.
While Johnson would win the race off pit road to begin the final stage, Blaney would reclaim the lead after a side-by-side battle with Johnson on the restart. Logano, meanwhile, would capitalize on Johnson providing a lane on the inside and would take second. Logano would then overtake Blaney on lap 284 for the lead.
Blaney would reclaim the lead on lap 307 and hold it for 21 laps before Logano would again take back the lead. Keselowski, after falling a lap down in the first stage, would grind back into the top 10 and squeeze Logano back into third.
Truex, after battling to remain on the lead lap through the first part of the race, would vault into first on lap 370. The 39-year-old would hold the lead through a Quin Houff caution and would win the race off pit road. Truex would continue to hold the lead over Logano and Keselowski through the finish.
Blaney, Keselowski and Logano would all finish in the top 10 (second, third and fourth, respectively). The race would mark the third time the Penske teammates would finish in the top 10 together.
Harvick would finish 15th and one lap down. The finish would be the 44-year-old’s worst finish on the season so far and is only the second time the No. 4 Ford has finished outside the top 10 (11th at Bristol).
Johnson would finish 10th. The finish gives Johnson six top-10 finishes on the season.
The Cup Series will continue this Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Check back for results and points.