Martin Truex Jr. led 464 of 500 laps to win the First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway. The victory advances the Joe Gibbs Racing driver into the final four, competing for the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series finale in Homestead.
Truex Jr. raced past teammate Denny Hamlin on lap 31 to take the lead and proved dominate throughout the 500 mile race. The 2017 MENCS Champion earned his third short track win of the season, and 26th career victory.
The No. 19 JGR team now has 7 wins in 2019, with two teammates Hamlin and Kyle Busch behind with 5 wins and 4 wins respectively. Earning the victory at Martinsville removes all pressure from Truex Jr. and the team in the Round of 8, and allows sufficient time to prepare for the championship race on November, 17th in Homestead.
“Every year I’ve been in this playoff format it’s gotten more difficult,” said Truex Jr. following the First Data 500 in Martinsville.
“I wanted to win this race (at Martinsville), it has been so tough for me – while Homestead is awesome, to stand here today, to win here and take home that grandfather clock is even bigger to be,” continued Truex Jr.
Playoff Intensity in Full Display in First Data 500
Contact on the track between Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano led to an altercation following the race between the two drivers. With less than 50 laps remaining, Hamlin pinched Logano into the outside wall on the front stretch, causing Logano to blow a tire and spin out the following lap.
“That’s Joey, he’s scared,” said Hamlin following the scuffle on pitroad after the race.
“It’s pretty frustrating, he came off the corner like there wasn’t a car on the outside of him,” said Logano in the garage. “It ruined our day and a shot to win.”
Playoff Picture Following Martinsville
Chase Elliott’s championship hopes took a hit on pitroad after another mechanical failure forced the No. 9 team behind the wall early in the race. The Hendrick Motorsports driver now sits 44 points behind the cutoff for the final four.
- Martin Truex Jr. – 4102 Points
- Denny Hamlin – 4082 Points
- Kyle Busch – 4075 Points
- Joey Logano – 4072 Points
- Kevin Harvick – 4058 Points
- Ryan Blaney – 4057 Points
- Kyle Larson – 4048 Points
- Chase Elliott – 4028 Points
View the complete Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings here.