11:01 pm: Here’s the final finishing order fro the Blue-Emu 500 at Martinsville. Truex was +550 to win, the second-favorite to take the checkered flag. Blaney was +300 to end up with a Top 3 finish, and Keselowski was +160 to reach that same Top 3.
The guy expected to win in Kyle Busch? He crosses in 19th, dead last of the cars that were a lap down.
Martinsville 500 Final Order
|1||Martin Truex Jr.||19|
|21||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||47|
|25||John Hunter Nemechek||38|
10:50 pm: And that’s why being first at Martinsville is so important. Martin Truex left the pits first with 100 to go, and never trailed again. He won by over four seconds, and never got even close to being touched. Ryan Blaney finishes second, Brad Keselowski third, and Joey Logan fourth.
10:12 pm: Quin Houff was down a billion laps, but him hitting the wall brings a caution at Lap 397. Everyone comes in for four tires on the lead lap, and coming out of the pits it’s Truex, Keselowski, Logano, Elliott, and Bowman as your Top 5. 18 cars are on the lead lap as Corey LaJoie gets the free pass.
Now everyone has enough rubber and gas to get home. But for some reason with all the paint being exchanged tonight, it would seem a miracle if we didn’t see at least one more yellow flag. Green flag drops, and we’ve got 98 to go from here.
9:59 pm: Everyone came in on Lap 327, and Joey Logano came back out as the leader. But at Lap 370 it’s Logano, Keselowski, Elliott, and Truex Jr 1-4. But it’s been terrific back-and-forth racing with lots of three-wide on a track that fits 2.5 cars.
And as we type this, Keselowski gets inside Logano with a pick from a lapped car, and now he’s in the lead. Nobody that hit the pit at 327 can finish without fuel (much less tires that would be worn totally out), but the way the rubbin’s going, it seems like we’ll see a caution soon here.
9:13 pm: And Jimmie Johnson just might be able to pick up a win in his last season as a full-time driver. Those that have been in front have been running very clean tonight, and he’ll be in the 1-hole after winning Stage 2. Through 260 of 500 laps, here’s where we are as everyone heads to the pits.
1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Ryan Blaney
3. Joey Logano
4. Alex Bowman
5. Kevin Harvick
6. Bubba Wallace
7. William Byron
8. Chase Elliott
9. Kurt Busch
10. Tyler Reddick
It’s been a lot of fun racing, but the Toyota’s are getting smoked out here. Martin Truex is the only in the Top 20 at 16th.
8:22 pm: And Logano is running away early, picking up the Stage 1 win. Here’s your Top 10 going into the end of stage caution after 130 of 500 laps:
1. Joey Logano
2. Clint Bowyer
3. Jimmie Johnson
4. Martin Truex Jr.
5. Darrell Wallace Jr.
6. Chase Elliott
7. Kurt Busch
8. Kevin Harvick
9. Matt DiBenedetto
10. William Byron
7:57 pm: And after the mandatory caution at Lap 60, the rest of the field is eating some Sliced Bread. Joey Logano made a nice move, and he’s in the lead with clean air for now.
Also Garrett Smithley is already out, Quin Houff is down four laps, and there’s only 20 cars on the lead lap. So... typical Martinsville.
7:26 pm: Austin Dillon picks up a flat on Lap 5, and the caution is out.
7:25 pm: And we’ve got a green flag! Aric Almirola gets to the turn first from the two hole, and he’ll lead the first lap of 1000 turns. Track temperature is 77 degrees, which is way, way less than what these crew chiefs are used to at Martinsville.
7:08 pm: Some comments from Bubba Wallace before the race, which he called “the most important of his career” in his pre-race interview with FS1. Also mentioned this track is where he won his first truck series race. He’ll have a special #BlackLivesMatter paint job on his quarter panel.
6:58 pm: Hey y’all, anything interesting happen in NASCAR today?
The tweet is worth a click-through just for the memes in the replies, which have been some of the internet’s best work. But a symbol that means one thing to some, but pain to so many, is no more as a part of stock car racing in the United States. That’s a monumental step.
As far as the racing, racing at The Paper Clip means passing is tough and brakes are everything. It’s also the first Martinsville NASCAR Cup Series race under the lights ever, so how teams adjust to the track without the sun shining on the asphalt will be a big factor.
NASCAR is back for its third midweek race of the restarted 2020 season on Wednesday with the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 gets underway at Martinsville Speedway. The green flag drops just after 7 p.m. ET and the Cup Series race will be broadcast on FS1.
Ryan Blaney opens the race in the pole position followed by Aric Almirola, Joey Logano, and Clint Bowyer. The back of the pack includes Reed Sorenson and Timmy Hill. The race order was determined by random draw of teams in specific positions based on owner points.
DraftKings Sportsbook has Kyle Busch as the favorite at +400, followed by Martin Truex Jr. at +550, Brad Keselowski at +600, and Denny Hamlin at +650. It jumps from there to Chase Elliott and Joey Logano at +900.
Kevin Harvick is the current Cup Series points leader at 421. He’s followed by Logano (373), Elliott (365), Keselowski (346), and Truex (334). Harvick, Logan, Keselowski, and Hamlin are tied with two wins apiece. Harvick and Keselowski both secured their two wins in the month since NASCAR restarted amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
We’ll be updating with notable wrecks and the like tonight, and then have the full finishing order when the checkered flag drops.