SHR Post-Race Report: Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville

Date: April 10-11, 2021
Event: Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 (Round 8 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)
Race Winner: Martin Truex Jr., of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)

SHR Race Finish:
● Kevin Harvick (Started 9th, Finished 9th / Running, completed 500 of 500 laps)
● Cole Custer (Started 26th, Finished 18th / Running, completed 500 of 500 laps)
● Aric Almirola (Started 31st, Finished 20th / Running, completed 499 of 500 laps)
● Chase Briscoe (Started 24th, Finished 27th / Running, completed 491 of 500 laps)

SHR Points:
● Kevin Harvick (8th with 253 points, 126 out of first)
● Cole Custer (24th with 137 points, 242 out of first)
● Chase Briscoe (27th with 114 points, 265 out of first)
● Aric Almirola (28th with 105 points, 274 out of first)

Race Notes:
● The Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 began on Saturday night and 42 laps were completed before rain washed over the .526-mile oval, forcing NASCAR to postpone the remainder of the race to Sunday.
● Harvick earned his sixth top-10 of the season and his 20th top-10 in 40 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Martinsville.
● There were 15 caution periods for a total of 102 laps.
● Only 18 of the 37 drivers in the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 finished on the lead lap.

Martinsville Quotes

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 NA Ford Mustang:
“We just maintained today. I got one good restart and then went too loose at the end.”

Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang:
“I’m not sure what it’s going to take to have our luck change, but I sure hope it’s soon. We ran so aggressively and so well, and it felt like we just had a magnet on the left-rear quarter panel. We stayed in the lead lap there in the first stage, and I felt like we had a solid car to work with. Then we got jammed up and I got pushed into another car that tore up the front end. We couldn’t catch a break all day. After all of that we still had a top-10 Smithfield Anytime Favorites Ford. We were in the Lucky Dog position there at the end and couldn’t get a caution to get us back in contention. We’re keeping our heads up and waiting for the bad luck to end.”

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 41 Ford Mustang:
“That was a typical Martinsville race. It’s a long race, a tough race, a long two days, it felt like. Our biggest issue was trying to find the drive off the corners that we needed. We got our Ford pretty decent in that respect by the middle of the last stage. We managed to get through that big wreck in better shape than a lot of other folks, and for some reason the car got worse during the last run, but we were able to get 18th place out of it.”

Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers Ford Mustang:
“I’m not really sure what went wrong there with 100 laps to go. Something just felt off after we got pushed up off the bottom and started falling back. The team did a really good job of sticking with it and coming back from two laps down. Johnny (Klausmeier, crew chief) called for some really good adjustments, and we had a great short-run car. It just started to get a little free, and we never got a chance to work on it.”

Next Up:
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Richmond 400 on Sunday, April 18 at Richmond (Va.) Raceway. The race begins at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.