Date: Oct. 31, 2021
Event: Xfinity 500 (Round 35 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)
Note: Race extended one lap past its scheduled 500-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.
Race Winner: Alex Bowman of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
SHR Race Finish:
● Aric Almirola (Started 23rd, Finished 6th / Running, completed 501 of 501 laps)
● Kevin Harvick (Started 9th, Finished 12th / Running, completed 501 of 501 laps)
● Chase Briscoe (Started 22nd, Finished 22nd / Running, completed 501 of 501 laps)
● Cole Custer (Started 24th, Finished 23rd / Running, completed 501 of 501 laps)
● Kevin Harvick (6th with 2,318 points)
● Aric Almirola (15th with 2,184 points)
● Chase Briscoe (23rd with 653 points)
● Cole Custer (26th with 547 points)
Championship 4 Drivers:
1. Kyle Larson (5,000 points)
2. Chase Elliott (5,000 points)
3. Denny Hamlin (5,000 points)
4. Martin Truex Jr. (5,000 points)
Failed to Advance to Championship 4:
5. Kyle Busch (4,116 points) -3 points
6. Brad Keselowski (4,111 points) -8 points
7. Ryan Blaney (4,099 points) -20 points
8. Joey Logano (4,077 points) -42 points
● Almirola earned his fourth top-10 of the season and his sixth top-10 in 26 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Martinsville.
● Almirola finished 10th in Stage 1 to earn one bonus point and sixth in Stage 2 to earn five more bonus points.
● Since joining SHR in 2014, Harvick has only finished outside the top-20 once at Martinsville – a lone 33rd-place finish in October 2014.
● Briscoe’s 22nd-place result bettered his previous best finish at Martinsville – 27th, earned in his first start at the track in April.
● Alex Bowman won the Xfinity 500 to score his sixth career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his fourth of the season and his first at Martinsville. His margin over second-place Kyle Busch was .478 of a second.
● There were 15 caution periods for a total of 91 laps.
● Twenty-five of the 38 drivers in the Xfinity 500 finished on the lead lap.
Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield/IHOP Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“Today we ran where we know we could run all year. We had a great car, and the pit crew was on it. We had the balance pretty close right off the start and we tried not to adjust too much today, and it paid off. We were best on the long run, and with all of the cautions at the end, we didn’t get to find that long-run speed where it mattered. But I’m so proud of this team for capping off the season with solid speed. Looking forward to Phoenix, where I think we have a good shot at it again.”
Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“Finishing on the lead lap at Martinsville is never a small accomplishment, but it was a frustrating day in a couple of areas. Braking is so important here, and I had little to no brakes for about the whole race. And that made it difficult to find just the right changes to make to help our struggle with a tight-handling racecar and keeping the rear end on the racetrack. We’ve got one more shot to get a good finish for everyone out at Phoenix, so we’ll try to take advantage of the extra track time and get something out of it.”
Cole Custer, driver of the No. 41 Dixie Vodka Peach Cocktail Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“Honestly, we just struggled all day. Martinsville is a tough track, and that proved to be true in this race. We struggled with the balance on the No. 41 Dixie Vodka Peach Cocktail Ford Mustang and just couldn’t get it right. Wish we could’ve gotten a better finish for Dixie Vodka, but we’ll head to Phoenix.”
The NASCAR Cup Series season finale is Sunday, Nov. 7 at Phoenix Raceway. The championship race starts at 3 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by NBC and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.