Event: First Data 500 (Round 33 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (.526-mile oval)
Format: 500 laps, broken into three stages (130 laps/130 laps/240 laps)
Start/Finish: 2nd/21st (Running, completed 499 of 500 laps)
Point Standing: 7th with 4,041 points, 42 points outside the top-four cutoff.
Race Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Ended at Lap 130):
● Bowyer started second and finished fourth to earn seven bonus points.
● Dropped to fourth in the opening laps but began turning quickest lap times on the track.
● Captured second place by passing Kyle Busch on lap 34.
● Pitted under caution on lap 46 and restarted fifth.
● Climbed back to fourth before the end of the stage.
● Told the crew his car was loose in and loose off the corners.
Stage 2 Recap (Ended at Lap 260):
● Bowyer started sixth and finished eighth to earn three bonus points.
● Bowyer and William Byron made contact while pitting during the stage break. The No. 14 suffered minor front-end damage, but the crew kept Bowyer on the track.
● Dropped to eighth reporting his car was still loose.
● Crew made major handling adjustments at the end of the stage.
Stage 3 Recap (Ended at Lap 500):
● Bowyer started ninth and finished 21st.
● Climbed to sixth in the opening laps of the stage.
● Bowyer continued to battle handling issues and dropped back to ninth.
● Pitted under caution with 110 laps remaining for tires, fuel and more adjustments and dropped to 11th.
● Bowyer raced in ninth with 60 laps remaining.
● With just 44 laps remaining Bowyer was clipped by Jimmie Johnson as he and Daniel Suarez raced in turn three.
● Bowyer’s spin dropped him a lap behind the leaders and to 21st where he finished the race.
● Bowyer led one lap to increase his laps-led total at Martinsville to 572.
● Joey Logano won the First Data 500 to score his 20th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his first at Martinsville. His margin of victory over second-place Denny Hamlin was .107 of a second.
● There were eight caution periods for a total of 68 laps.
● Twenty of the 40 drivers in the First Data 500 finished on the lead lap.
Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“Obviously we are disappointed. We struggled all day trying fix our loose car, but we stayed in the top-10 until there at the end when we got spun. We lost a lap, and that killed us. We have two races left, and we’ll do our best to win at Texas or Phoenix.”
Playoff Standings: (with two races to go before the Championship 4):
1. Kyle Busch (4,104) +46
2. Martin Truex Jr. (4,083) +25
3. Kevin Harvick (4,083) +25
4. Joey Logano (4,074) 1 win
5. Kurt Busch (4,058) -25
6. Chase Elliott (4,052) -31
7. Clint Bowyer (4,041) -42
8. Aric Almirola (4,033) -50
SHR is the only team to feature all four of its drivers in the Round of 8.
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the AAA Texas 500 on Sunday, Nov. 4 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. It is the eighth race of the 10-race playoffs and the second race in the Round of 8. It starts at 3 p.m. EST with live coverage on NBCSN.