William Byron won the Cup series race at Martinsville speedway as Hendrick Motorsports takes the weekend by storm, winning pole, both Stages, and the race on Saturday night.
After eight races, the Cup Series has finally produced a multiple race winner. When William Byron grabbed the checkered flag under the lights at Martinsville Speedway, he became the season’s first two-time winner. On Saturday night, the Hendrick Motorsports driver led a race-high 212 laps, setting a new record for the team.
On Thursday night in the Camping World Truck Series, Byron’s weekend began with a grandfather clock. As his mother watched from the timing stand on pit road, the 24-year-old was beaming from ear to ear after winning two clocks in three days.
“This one is for my mom,” Byron said.
“This same weekend last year she had kind of a mini-stroke and was diagnosed with brain cancer.”
“It means a lot to have her here, and it’s been a crazy year, but she’s doing great, and thanks, everybody, for the support,” he continued.
“I kind of felt like she was riding in there with me. It’s cool to have her here, and I’m definitely going to enjoy this one.”
This is Byron’s fourth career victory, and he did it after the race was delayed by nearly an hour due to rain.
“It feels awesome, I knew when that last caution came out I thought everyone behind us would pit and luckily we stayed out,” Byron said.
“We were aggressive, we felt we could re-fire on the tires and you got one of the most aggressive guys behind you in Logano.”
“I chattered the tires in Turns 3 and 4 and I left the bottom lane but was able to block my exits and get a good drive off.”
In the closing laps, Byron had the race well in hand, but a late race caution with only seven laps remaining could have thrown it all away.
The youthful driver, on the other hand, remained composed and unfazed by Joey Logano’s push in the two-lap overtime finale. It was the Team Penske driver’s best finish of the season, and his second top-five finish of the year.
“Really hard to pass,” Logano said after the race.
“That final restart there, it’s a front row, it’s what you could ask for. I hate being that close to winning and not making it happen. It just stinks. Second just sucks sometimes, that’s all.”
Austin Dillon was on his way to finishing second until the final caution flag handed him another chance to win. He did not have a strong restart, and he finished third after being passed by Logano.
Ryan Blaney finished fourth for the third time this season, and Ross Chastain rounded out the top five for the fifth time this season.
Dillon said, “I’m a little upset.” “I like to think of myself as clutch when we’re in such situations, and that was anything but clutch on that last restart.”
“Through the gears, I spun the tires quite a bit. I had some grip as I got back in line, and I felt like we had excellent forward drive all night, and I just felt like if we got to the gears, we’d have a shot at him.”
The Busch brothers (Kurt and Kyle) just missed out on the top five, but led the way for Toyota with their respective teams.
“It was really fun to drive Martinsville this way with this Next Gen car, but really had to work hard and I just think we maximized today,” Kurt said.
“Our loose run was stage two, we were 12th and then, just couldn’t quite attack, you know, steering wheel and throttle at the same time.”
“All in all, really happy. We know that sixth is good to right the ship for what we need to do at 23XI Racing. But, overall, we need to pick it up.”
Aric Almirola and Chase Briscoe, both of Stewart Haas Racing, finished in the top ten at the paperclip. Chase Elliott, Byron’s teammate, finished tenth after leading the opening 185 laps on his way to Stage 1 and Stage 2 victories.
Winner of the Daytona 500 On Saturday, Austin Cindric had a strong run, finishing 11th in what was a wonderful day for Roger Penske’s squad. Erik Jones, Kevin Harvick, and Chris Buescher rounded out the top 15 at Martinsville, with Alex Bowman being the third Hendrick driver to finish inside the top 12.
Kyle Larson’s winless streak continued, with him finishing 19th despite never making it to the front of the pack. On Saturday, Busch was strong, but the other three Joe Gibbs Racing drivers battled to get to the front, with Christopher Bell (20th), Martin Truex Jr (22nd), and Denny Hamlin (28th) all finishing in the bottom three.
The racing activity was not as intense as it had been on Thursday and Friday, when vehicles were battling for position.
Apart from pit stops, there were no green flag passes for the lead, and numerous drivers complained about their inability to maneuver past other vehicles. Because there were only two natural warning flags during the race, it was completed in just 2 hours and 40 minutes.
Truex is 19 points behind Blaney and Elliott in third place, with Blaney and Elliott equal for the championship lead. All three drivers have yet to win a race this season. This season, Byron is the only driver in the top five (4th) who has won a race.
The Cup Series will focus on a third consecutive short-track event in Tennessee next weekend after two races in six days in Virginia. The Food City Dirt Race, however, will take center stage at Bristol Motor Speedway, giving it a unique edge. FOX will broadcast the race on Easter Sunday at 7 p.m. ET.
|1||5||24||William Byron||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||403||Running|
|2||14||22||Joey Logano||Team Penske||Ford||403||Running|
|3||23||3||Austin Dillon||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||403||Running|
|4||12||12||Ryan Blaney||Team Penske||Ford||403||Running|
|5||27||1||Ross Chastain||Trackhouse Racing Team||Chevrolet||403||Running|
|6||18||45||Kurt Busch||23XI Racing||Toyota||403||Running|
|7||11||18||Kyle Busch||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||403||Running|
|8||2||10||Aric Almirola||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||403||Running|
|9||19||14||Chase Briscoe||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||403||Running|
|10||1||9||Chase Elliott||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||403||Running|
|11||13||2||Austin Cindric||Team Penske||Ford||403||Running|
|12||15||48||Alex Bowman||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||403||Running|
|13||24||43||Erik Jones||Petty GMS Motorsports||Chevrolet||403||Running|
|14||6||4||Kevin Harvick||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||403||Running|
|15||4||17||Chris Buescher||RFK Racing||Ford||403||Running|
|16||21||23||Bubba Wallace||23XI Racing||Toyota||403||Running|
|17||9||6||Brad Keselowski||RFK Racing||Ford||403||Running|
|18||22||8||Tyler Reddick||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||403||Running|
|19||8||5||Kyle Larson||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||403||Running|
|20||7||20||Christopher Bell||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||402||Running|
|21||3||41||Cole Custer||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||402||Running|
|22||20||19||Martin Truex Jr.||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||401||Running|
|23||34||42||Ty Dillon||Petty GMS Motorsports||Chevrolet||401||Running|
|24||36||16||A.J. Allmendinger*||Kaulig Racing||Chevrolet||401||Running|
|25||16||34||Michael McDowell||Front Row Motorsports||Ford||400||Running|
|26||29||21||Harrison Burton||Wood Brothers Racing||Ford||400||Running|
|27||28||47||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||JTG Daugherty Racing||Chevrolet||400||Running|
|28||25||11||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||400||Running|
|29||30||99||Daniel Suárez||Trackhouse Racing Team||Chevrolet||399||Running|
|30||10||38||Todd Gilliland||Front Row Motorsports||Ford||399||Running|
|31||17||31||Justin Haley||Kaulig Racing||Chevrolet||398||Running|
|32||26||7||Corey LaJoie||Spire Motorsports||Chevrolet||397||Running|
|33||35||51||Cody Ware||Rick Ware Racing||Ford||394||Running|
|34||32||15||J.J. Yeley*||Rick Ware Racing||Ford||392||Running|
|35||31||77||Josh Bilicki*||Spire Motorsports||Chevrolet||391||Running|
|36||33||78||B.J. McLeod||Live Fast Motorsports||Ford||132||Handling|