Martin Truex Jr. took the lead and didn’t look back to win the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Wednesday night. The No. 19 team led 132 of the 500 laps to pick up their first win of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season.
After making contact early in the race, a crew member for Truex Jr. sawed off a part of the right front fender. In the following stints, the Joe Gibbs Racing car came to life, moving up through the field and eventually taking the lead for good on lap 370. After 10 winless races to start the season, the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series Champion finally found himself in victory lane.
“We have been working a long time on trying to figure this place out. We started the first run and blew the right front tire off, we were terrible,” said Truex Jr. after taking the checkered flag in Martinsville. “Really good adjustments by the guys, I want to thank all of them.
Truex Jr. salvaged what otherwise would have been an awful night for Toyota. Aside from his win, the next best Toyota finisher was JGR teammates Kyle Busch and Erik Jones who finished 19th and 20th.
Penske Sees Win Slip Away at Martinsville
After leading a total of 234 laps, Team Penske driver Joey Logano lost a bit of ground late in the Blue-Emu 500, unable to make up the time on the racetrack to ultimately finish 4th. Teammates Ryan Blaney and Brad Keselowski showed potential to pull off the win but were unable to catch and pass Truex Jr.
Blaney fell a lap down early in the race but battled back to the lead late in the 500 lap race. However, a tumultuous pitstop under caution for the No. 12 Penske team put Blaney deep in the pack. The driver was able to drive up to finish 2nd but unable to take back the lead.
“We got the lucky dog and really drove up through there, running 2nd in the second stage,” said Blaney after the Blue-Emu 500. “Then we got a penalty on pitroad which set up back again, so I was happy to come back up to second.
The NASCAR teams have a quick turn around before heading down south to Homestead-Miami Speedway for the Dixie Vodka 400 this Sunday.