NASCAR Martinsville Auto Racing

Martin Truex Jr. (19) celebrates with the winners’ trophy after winning the NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Va., on Sunday.

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (AP) — Martin Truex Jr. admits to being surprised by his success at Martinsville Speedway.

Truex won a stirring, laps-long duel for the lead with teammate Denny Hamlin in the rain-delayed NASCAR Cup Series race Sunday night, winning for the third time in the last four stops at the 0.526-mile oval — the oldest and 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 all day, but we just kept working on it and never quit on it.”

Truex, who nudged Hamlin repeatedly in the turns and tried to get to his inside on the straightaways without success, finally made the pass with 15 laps to go, ducking underneath Hamlin coming out of the second turn. He sailed off to victory without another challenge as Hamlin and Chase Elliott battled the rest of the way for second.

Truex became the first repeat winner in NASCAR’s top series this season.

The race was rained out after 42 laps Saturday night, and was completed as the second part of a doubleheader that started with the completion of the rain-delayed Xfinity Series race from Friday night.

Elliott, who won here last fall on his way to winning the series championship, held off Hamlin for second. Hamlin was third, followed by William Byron and Kyle Larson.

“That was a lot of fun there at the end, racing with Denny,” Truex said about his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate. “We raced clean and we were able to come out on top.”

The Gibbs team had all four of its drivers finish in the top 10 as Christopher Bell took seventh and Kyle Busch 10th, leaving team owner Joe Gibbs excited, and relieved.

“I was just praying that Denny and Martin didn’t get together running up front,” Gibbs said.

The outcome 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 gun out of his pit after the final stop and was sent back to 19th in the field.

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

NASCAR Cup Series Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 Results

At Martinsville Speedway

Martinsville, United States.

Lap length: 0.53 miles

(Start position in parentheses)

1. (7) Martin Truex Jr, Toyota, 500 laps, 56 points.

2. (5) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 500, 49.

3. (2) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 500, 52.

4. (3) William Byron, Chevrolet, 500, 42.

5. (19) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 500, 38.

6. (1) Joey Logano, Ford, 500, 33.

7. (23) Christopher Bell, Toyota, 500, 31.

8. (13) Tyler Reddick, Chevrolet, 500, 32.

9. (9) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 500, 28.

10. (12) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 500, 29.

11. (4) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 500, 46.

12. (22) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 500, 25.

13. (15) Chris Buescher, Ford, 500, 24.

14. (18) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 500, 23.

15. (6) Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Chevrolet, 500, 22.

16. (25) Bubba Wallace, Toyota, 500, 21.

17. (27) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 500, 20.

18. (26) Cole Custer, Ford, 500, 19.

19. (8) Ryan Newman, Ford, 499, 18.

20. (31) Aric Almirola, Ford, 499, 17.

21. (21) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 498, 17.

22. (37) James Davison, Chevrolet, 494, 15.

23. (33) Josh Bilicki, Ford, 493, 14.

24. (29) Quin Houff, Chevrolet, 493, 13.

25. (28) JJ Yeley, Chevrolet, 492, 0.

26. (35) Anthony Alfredo, Ford, 492, 11.

27. (24) Chase Briscoe, Ford, 491, 10.

28. (32) Cody Ware, Chevrolet, 490, 0.

29. (36) BJ McLeod, Ford, 478, 0.

30. (16) Erik Jones, Chevrolet, reargear, 403, 7.

31. (14) Michael McDowell, Ford, accident, 387, 6.

32. (11) Daniel Suarez, Chevrolet, accident, 386, 5.

33. (10) Brad Keselowski, Ford, accident, 385, 12.

34. (20) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, accident, 384, 13.

35. (30) Justin Haley, Chevrolet, accident, 383, 0.

36. (17) Ryan Preece, Chevrolet, accident, 382, 1.

37. (34) Corey Lajoie, Chevrolet, accident, 374, 1.

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Race Statistics

Average Speed of Race Winner: 67.317 mph.

Time of Race: 3 hours, 54 minutes, 25 seconds.

Margin of Victory: 1.972 seconds.

Caution Flags: 15 for 102 laps.

Lead Changes: 18 among 7 drivers.

Lap Leaders: J.Logano 0-3; D.Hamlin 4-38; J.Logano 39; D.Hamlin 40-74; R.Blaney 75-140; D.Hamlin 141-174; R.Blaney 175-264; D.Hamlin 265-290; J.Logano 291; B.Wallace 292-314; W.Byron 315-323; D.Hamlin 324-372; J.Logano 373; C.Bell 374-382; D.Hamlin 383-453; R.Blaney 454; M.Truex 455-458; D.Hamlin 459-484; M.Truex 485-500

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Led, Laps Led): D.Hamlin, 7 times for 276 laps; R.Blaney, 3 times for 157 laps; B.Wallace, 1 time for 23 laps; M.Truex, 2 times for 20 laps; W.Byron, 1 time for 9 laps; C.Bell, 1 time for 9 laps; J.Logano, 4 times for 6 laps.

Wins: J.Logano, 1; M.Truex, 1; K.Larson, 1; W.Byron, 1; R.Blaney, 1; C.Bell, 1; M.McDowell, 1.

Top 16 in Points: 1. D.Hamlin, 327; 2. J.Logano, 269; 3. M.Truex, 247; 4. K.Larson, 242; 5. B.Keselowski, 232; 6. W.Byron, 228; 7. R.Blaney, 226; 8. K.Harvick, 225; 9. C.Elliott, 211; 10. C.Bell, 186; 11. A.Dillon, 186; 12. M.McDowell, 183; 13. Ky.Busch, 183; 14. R.Stenhouse, 180; 15. Ku.Busch, 173; 16. A.Bowman, 172.

 
 

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