Event: Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 (Round 11 of 36)
Series: 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: 4th/17th (Running, completed 499 of 500 laps)
Point Standing: 12th with 288 points, 164 out of first
Race Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Jimmie Johnson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-130):
● Clint Bowyer started fourth and finished second to earn nine bonus points.
● Bowyer dropped to eighth then charged to third before the lap-60 competition caution.
● He moved to second on the restart then began turning some of the fastest laps on the track.
● No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford Mustang stayed at the front of the pack finishing the stage in second.
● Bowyer and the top-five cars stayed on the track during the stage break to keep track position.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 131-260):
● Bowyer started second and finished 19th.
● Stage 2 ran without caution penalizing the drivers with older tires who stayed on the track after Stage 1.
● Bowyer fell through the field reporting his car was too loose and couldn’t drive off the corners.
● Bowyer dropped to 19th and off the lead lap with 12 laps left in the stage.
● Bowyer pitted for tires, fuel and adjustments to improve the handling during the stage break..
Final Stage Recap (Laps 261-500):
● Bowyer started 17th and finished 17th.
● The No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford Mustang earned the free pass back to the lead lap when the caution flew on lap 325.
● Bowyer continued to struggle with handling despite moving to 12th midway through the stage.
● Bowyer faded to 17th and fell off the lead lap with 44 laps remaining.
● He finished 17th – one lap behind the winner.
● Martin Truex Jr. won the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 to score his 27th career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his second at Martinsville. His margin of victory over second-place Ryan Blaney was 4.705 seconds.
● There were seven caution periods for a total of 52 laps.
● Only 14 of the 39 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.
● Kevin Harvick remains the championship leader after Martinsville with a 28-point advantage over second-place Joey Logano.
Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“That was a tough night for us. I don’t know if we were chasing the track or what. We went from one of the fastest cars to one of the worst. I didn’t have any turn, zero right rear grip and just couldn’t get the power down.”
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Homestead 400 on Sunday, June 14 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race starts at 3:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.