Martin Truex Jr. gets redemption with Martinsville win

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Martin Truex Jr. won Sunday’s Cup Series playoff race at Martinsville Speedway, holding off William Byron over the last 24 laps to score his seventh of win of the year.

The win comes a year after the dramatic finish in this race that saw Truex lose after last-lap contact with Joey Logano.

Truex schooled the field, sweeping every stage and leading 464 of 500 laps. He secured a spot in the championship four with the win. He has been in the championship race in four of the last five seasons.

“I can’t believe we just won Martinsville, man,” Truex told NBCSN. “Miami is awesome, but we’ve wanted to win here for a long time, but the guys have worked so hard, I’ve worked so hard.  I used to just be terrible here, and just an awesome bunch of guys.”

It is Truex’s third short track win of the season.

“I don’t think anyone expected that (performance),” Truex said. “This race track in general, you don’t see that.  Hats off to my guys.  Pit crew was stellar today, and we didn’t make many adjustments.  We adjusted on it early and it came to life, and that was a lot of fun.  I don’t know, maybe now I’ve got this place figured out, who knows.  But just really proud of everybody, and after last year, we talked earlier, everybody wants to keep talking about last year, and I’m like, we’ve got work to do.  I’m just proud of everybody for giving me a race car like that and being able to put it all together today when it counted.”

The top five was completed by Brad Keselowski, pole-sitter Denny Hamlin and Ryan Blaney.

After the race, Hamlin and Joey Logano were involved in a scuffle on pit road. Logano and Hamlin were discussing their contact with 43 laps to go that resulted in Logano cutting a tire and spinning. 

The scuffle began when Logano gave Hamlin a hard slap on his shoulder and began walking away. Hamlin went after Logano and crew members had to separate them, resulting in Hamlin being pulled to the ground by a Team Penske crew member.

“We were having a discussion and everything was civil, and then like Joey does, he did a little push and then runs away, so that’s Joey, he’s scared,” Hamlin told NBCSN. “He said ‘Do you wanna go?’ and I said ‘Yes, I’m here,’ and then he runs away.”

Hamlin described their on-track incident and ended with an impression of Logano: “We got close off Turn 4, we got together and collateral damage and he blew a tire. He’ll probably say ‘Ah, short-track racing.'”

More: Denny Hamlin: Joey Logano is “not that tough.”

More: Joey Logano: Denny Hamlin is “a little bit arrogant sometimes.”

Logano gave his side of the story to NBCSN.

“I just wanted to talk to him about it and was pretty frustrated. He kind of came off the corner like there wasn’t a car on the outside of him and ruined our day, shot at the win for sure. We probably weren’t going to beat (Truex), but we had a top five for sure coming our way.

“I don’t really know what happened because once he started hitting me, he didn’t lift. He just kept finishing me up. We ran each other fine all day, but I don’t know what happened. … At the end of the day, we still got a decent finish (eighth) out of it and some points in the stages at least. But a little frustrated with the situation and wanted to talk with him. Maybe I shouldn’t have shoved him in the end, that may have escalated it a little bit more. It’s frustrating, there’s a lot of passion out there.

Added Logano: “I just wanted to see what he was going to say and he wasn’t apologetic at all, so that’s more frustrating when someone’s like that, isn’t it? That’s not what I was going for. I just wanted to see what his thoughts were. It wasn’t quite the answer I was looking for.

“It’s just the playoffs. It just happens. It’s part of it. Emotions run high.”

STAGE 1 WINNER: Martin Truex Jr.

STAGE 2 WINNER: In a three-lap shootout, Martin Truex Jr. passed Kyle Larson in the final turn to win the stage. Larson had stayed out under the preceding caution.

MORE: Race results, playoff standings

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: William Byron matched his career-best finish and finished in the top five in consecutive races for the first time in his Cup career … Ryan Blaney earned his third top-five finish at Martinsville, matching Las Vegas for his most at a track … David Ragan finished a season-best 11th.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Ty Dillon finished 24th after he spun from contact with Daniel Hemric on Lap 177 … Playoff driver Chase Elliott finished 36th after a mechanical problem on his No. 9 Chevrolet during his pit stop following the Dillon caution … Clint Bowyer placed 35th after he suffered two cut tires and a broken track bar throughout the race … A multi-car wreck occurred with 138 laps to go involving Kyle Busch, Aric Almirola, Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Preece and Matt DiBenedetto. Almirola and Johnson were eliminated

NOTABLE: Martin Truex Jr.’s 464 laps led are the most led in a race since Kyle Petty led 484 in his October 1992 Rockingham win … Matt Crafton finished 25th in his role as a substitute driver for Matt Tifft, who missed her race due to medical issues.

QUOTE OF THE RACE: “I don’t give a damn.” – Martin Truex Jr. when asked by NBCSN about the Joey Logano-Denny Hamlin scuffle.

WHAT’S NEXT:  AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway at 3 p.m. ET on Nov. 2 on NBCSN