It was a thrilling race Sunday afternoon at Martinsville Speedway as the round of 8 reached its climax. Chase Elliott, who came into the race below the cutline, took matters into his own hands and won the race, locking himself into the Championship 4 at Phoenix next week.
Keselowski started on the pole but was passed by Martin Truex Jr. for the lead four laps into the race. Denny Hamlin and Kurt Busch pushed their way into the top three. Keselowski fell back toward the pack after Elliott made contact with him and passed him seconds later. Elliott passed Hamlin for second place 52 laps into the race. Truex just held off Elliott heading into competition caution.
On the restart, Truex took the lead over Elliott and Joey Logano. The caution came out a few laps later as Aric Almirola turned Clint Bowyer, causing Austin Dillon to crash, which brought out the caution. Truex took the lead once again on the restart over Elliott. On lap 89, Elliott passed Truex for the lead.
After another caution came out, most of the lead lap cars pitted except for Elliott and Truex. Hamlin took the lead on fresher tires and held the lead after another caution to win stage one, his 11th stage win of the season. Alex Bowman finished second, followed by Keselowski, Elliott and Logano.
The Busch Brothers stayed out during the stage caution and battled for the lead on the restart. Kurt won the battle as he led to begin stage two. However, the caution came out once again, this time for Chris Buescher.
Kurt Busch restarted in the lead over Elliott but lost it to Elliott a few laps later. Hamlin passed him for second a few laps later. Kevin Harvick suffered a flat tire, forcing him to pit and run two laps behind. However, he caught a break as the caution came out once again a few laps after he pitted. He was still a lap down on the restart.
Elliott took the lead over Hamlin and Truex on the restart. However, Harvick was still a lap down as the caution came out for Ryan Preece. During the caution, Truex and Elliott pitted and Hamlin battled Logano on the restart. Hamlin took the lead with 38 laps left in the stage. Elliott went up to second with Ryan Blaney and Truex running behind him. Elliott took the lead with 22 laps left in stage two. He held on to win stage two, his 10th of the season. Harvick was still a lap down as he sat over 15 points below the cutline.
Hamlin had to pit a second time due to loose lug nuts. Harvick and Hamlin ran 29th and 30th to begin the final stage. Elliott took the lead to begin the final stage but Truex ran closely behind him.
On lap 352, Timmy Hill brought out the caution, bringing the leaders to pit road. Logano won the race off pit road and Elliott had a slow pit stop, had a penalty for a crew member over the wall rescinded. Blaney took the lead over Logano with 132 laps to go.
Harvick caught a break and got the free pass after a caution came out with 100 laps to go. Elliott dropped outside the top 10 after a second slow pit stop and Keselowski suffered a penalty as he sped on pit road, dropping him to the rear.
Truex passed Logano on the restart to take the lead with 91 laps to go. Keselowski and Harvick battled for points on the cutline as they ran in the middle of the pack. With 60 laps to go, the caution came out for Byron.
On the restart, Truex took the lead over Elliott but Elliott passed him for the lead a few laps later. Truex had to pit with 26 laps to go due to a loose wheel, all but officially ending his chance for the championship four.
In an action-packed final 25 laps, Keselowski edged his way above Harvick at the cutline. On the final lap, Harvick turned Kyle Busch, ending his pursuit of the championship four. Hamlin and Keselowski join race winners Elliott and Logano in the championship four next week at Phoenix.
Playoff driver results:
Chase Elliott: 1st
Joey Logano: 2nd
Brad Keselowski: 4th
Kurt Busch: 5th
Alex Bowman: 6th
Denny Hamlin: 11th
Kevin Harvick: 17th
Martin Truex Jr.: 22nd
The 2020 NASCAR Cup Series will conclude its season next Sunday at Phoenix Raceway for the championship.