Event: First Data 500
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: 7th/35th (Running, completed 449 of 500 laps)
Point Standing: 11th with 2,190 points
Race Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Ended at Lap 130):
- Bowyer started seventh and finished fourth to earn seven bonus points.
- The No. 14 BlueDEF Ford driver moved from his seventh starting position to fifth in the opening two laps.
- Bowyer pitted under caution for four tires and fuel on lap 30 and remained in the top-five.
- Bowyer drove by teammate Daniel Suarez for fourth on lap 91.
- Bowyer was the highest finishing non-playoff driver in the stage.
- The crew made minor handling changes during the stage break after Bowyer reported his car was a little loose.
Stage 2 Recap (Ended at Lap 260):
- Bowyer started fourth and finished 29th.
- The No. 14 BlueDEF Ford driver grabbed second place when Stage 2 began.
- He held second place for most of the stage, even turning the fastest lap on the track a few times.
- Seemed ready to finish second in the stage until contact with a lapped car caused a flat right-rear tire at the lap-250 mark.
- Bowyer pitted twice for repairs and returned to the track in 29th two laps behind the leaders.
Stage 3 Recap (Ended at Lap 500):
- Bowyer started 29th and finished 35th.
- Racing two laps behind the leaders, the No. 14 BlueDEF Ford team was hoping for a caution that would enable Bowyer to take a wave-around and make up one of the laps lost due to the flat tire.
- Bowyer continued to turn impressive times, but circumstances offered no chance to make up laps on the leaders.
- A broken track bar with 50 laps remaining in the race sent the No. 14 to the pits for repairs and ultimately to the garage, ending Bowyer’s race.
- Bowyer’s first win with SHR came at Martinsville in March 2018.
- Martin Truex Jr. won the First Data 500 to score his 26th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his seventh of the season and his first at Martinsville. His margin of victory over second-place William Byron was .373 of a second.
- There were 11 caution periods for a total of 69 laps.
- Only 19 of the 38 drivers in the First Data 500 finished on the lead lap.
- Ford took five of the top-10 finishing positions in the First Data 500.
Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 BlueDEF Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“That was so disappointing. Our BlueDEF Mustang was fast, and we were just cruising a lot today. We made contact with a lapped car, and I think that’s how we got the flat but I don’t know. The track bar broke at the end and ended our race. We had a great car all weekend, and we deserved better today.”
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the AAA Texas 500 on Sunday, Nov. 3 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 provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.