‘Martin’s Ville’ again: Truex Jr. earns second win of season


Martin Truex Jr. is the first NASCAR Cup Series driver with multiple wins this season.

Truex Jr. passed Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin for the lead with 16 laps to go and went on to win Sunday night at Martinsville Speedway. He has now won three of the last four Cup races at the half-mile short track.

The race began Saturday night, but was stopped after 42 laps due to rain. It resumed shortly after 4 p.m. ET on Sunday.

MORE: Martinsville Cup race results

“We never could quite get (the car) the way that we wanted it, then it started getting dark and she came to life,” Truex told Fox Sports after the race. “…It was a lot fun racing at the end there with Denny. We raced clean and we were able to come out on top.

“It’s always difficult (racing a teammate). We try to race hard, race clean. He was making it difficult on me. I was getting loose coming off the corners and his car got tight. We had opposite things going on and it made it difficult to pass.

“But we played nice. ‘Coach’ (Joe Gibbs) will be happy. It’ll be a cordial meeting tomorrow (laughs).”

Hamlin, who led a race-high 276 laps, appeared poised to battle Ryan Blaney for the win. But on the final pit stops under caution with 47 laps to go, Blaney was penalized after running over his air hose and taking it outside his pit box. He only partially recovered to finish 11th.

Truex beat Hamlin out of pit road to take the lead, but Hamlin regained it immediately after the restart with 42 laps to go. As the run progressed, though, Truex reeled Hamlin in and eventually made the winning pass.

“That’s just the cards we’re dealt,” Hamlin said to Fox Sports. “We had a really good short-run car, but we just did not have a good long-run car.

“We saved a set of tires and had the tire advantage, but we just couldn’t get our car to really turn in the long run. That was the bugaboo, I guess you could say.”

Reigning Cup Series champion Chase Elliott would also pass Hamlin to claim second place. William Byron and Kyle Larson finished fourth and fifth respectively, giving Hendrick Motorsports three drivers inside the top five.

Sunday’s action included a red flag period of over 20 minutes for a Lap 386 crash that involved a dozen cars.

The wreck was set off by Kyle Busch and Chris Buescher. After Busch made initial contact with Buescher while trying to pass him in Turn 1, the two clashed again off Turn 2 and went spinning – leaving nowhere for drivers behind them to go.

The incident eliminated Brad Keselowski, Daytona 500 winner Michael McDowell, Alex Bowman and Daniel Suarez among others.

“There was nowhere I could go,” Suarez told Fox Sports after watching his car burn on the front-stretch. “I slammed on the brakes to try and slow down, but it was a parking lot in there. I couldn’t do anything about it.”

STAGE 1 WINNER: Ryan Blaney

STAGE 2 WINNER: Ryan Blaney

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Larson’s fifth-place finish was only his second top-five finish in 13 career Cup starts at Martinsville … Kyle Busch and Buescher recovered from their involvement in the Lap 386 crash to salvage 10th and 13th respectively … Austin Dillon also rallied from a one-lap penalty for pitting outside his box during Lap 291 stops and finished 14th.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Alex Bowman was running second at the Lap 356 restart, but had to pit under green just twelve laps later for a loose right-front wheel. He was then taken out in the Lap 386 crash. … Corey LaJoie was looking at a potential top-10 finish until he suffered terminal damage after contact with Tyler Reddick on pit road at Lap 373.

NOTABLE: Truex has now won five of the last 11 Cup short track races. He began his Cup career winless in his first 80 short track races.

NEXT: The series returns to action Sunday, April 18 at Richmond Raceway (3 p.m. ET, FOX).

NASCAR Cup playoff standings after Coca-Cola 600


The severe penalty to Chase Briscoe and his Stewart-Haas Racing team Wednesday for a counterfeit part dropped Briscoe from 17th to 31st in the season standings. Briscoe now must win a race to have a chance at the playoffs.

The penalty came a day after NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one race for his retaliation in wrecking Denny Hamlin in Monday’s Coca-Cola 600. Elliott is 28th in the points. The 2020 Cup champion also needs to win to have a chance to make the playoffs.

Ten drivers have won races, including Coca-Cola 600 winner Ryan Blaney. That leaves six playoff spots to be determined by points at this time. With 12 races left in the regular season, including unpredictable superspeedway races at Atlanta (July 9) and Daytona (Aug. 26), the playoff standings will change during the summer.

Among those without a win this season are points leader Ross Chastain and former champions Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Elliott.

Here’s a look at the Cup playoff standings heading into Sunday’s Cup race at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois. Drivers in yellow have won a race and are in a playoff position. Those below the red line after 16th place are outside a playoff spot in the graphic below.

NASCAR issues major penalties to Chase Briscoe team for Charlotte infraction


NASCAR fined crew chief John Klausmeier $250,000 and suspended him six races, along with penalizing Chase Briscoe and the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing team 120 points and 25 playoff points each for a counterfeit part on the car.

The issue was a counterfeit engine NACA duct, said Elton Sawyer, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, on Wednesday. That is a single-source part.

MORE: Updated Cup playoff standings

The team stated that it accepts the L3 penalty.

“We had a quality control lapse and a part that never should’ve been on a car going to the racetrack ended up on the No. 14 car at Charlotte,” said Greg Zipadelli in a statement from the team. “We accept NASCAR’s decision and will not appeal.”

Asked how then piece could have aided performance, Sawyer said Wednesday: “Knowing the race team mentality, they don’t do things that would not be a benefit to them in some way, shape or form from a performance advantage.”

The penalty drops Briscoe from 17th in the season standings to 31st in the standings. Briscoe goes from having 292 points to having 172 points. He’ll have to win to make the playoffs. Briscoe has no playoff points at this time, so the penalty puts him at -25 playoff points should he make it.

Briscoe’s car was one of two taken to the R&D Center after Monday’s Coca-Cola 600 for additional tear down by series officials.

The penalty comes a day after NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one race for wrecking Denny Hamlin in last weekend’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

NASCAR Championship Weekend returns to Phoenix in 2024


Phoenix Raceway will host the championship races for the Cup, Xfinity, Craftsman Truck and ARCA Menards Series in 2024, NASCAR announced Wednesday.

The races will be held Nov. 1-3, 2024. The Cup season finale will be Nov. 3, 2024. The only other Cup race for 2024 that has been announced is the Daytona 500. It will be held Feb. 18, 2024.

Phoenix Raceway has hosted the championship finale for Cup, Xfinity and Trucks since 2020. Chase Elliott won the Cup title there in 2020. Kyle Larson followed in 2021. Joey Logano won the crown there in 2022.

This year’s Cup finale at Phoenix will be Nov. 5 and air on NBC.



Drivers to watch at World Wide Technology Raceway


After the fireworks from the Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR heads to World Wide Technology Raceway, a 1.25-mile speedway just outside of St. Louis. Sunday’s race (3:30 p.m. ET on FS1) marks the second time the Cup Series has raced at this track.

Much is at stake. The race to win the regular season championship has intensified. Tempers are high. The pressure to make the playoffs builds. Ten drivers have wins this season. Twelve races remain in the regular season.


Kyle Larson

  • Points position: 11th
  • Best finish this season: 1st (Richmond, Martinsville)
  • Past at WWTR: 12th last year

While a driver coming off back-to-back finishes of 20th or worse might not seem like a frontrunner, it actually does make Larson one. His topsy-turvy season has seen him place outside the top 10 in back-to-back races four times. In the three previous times he had consecutive finishes outside the top 10, he came back to finish second, first and second. Can he keep that streak going this weekend?

Bubba Wallace

  • Points position: 15th
  • Best finish this season: 4th (Las Vegas I, Kansas I, Coca-Cola 600)
  • Past at WWTR: 26th last year

Wallace has scored three consecutive top-five finishes, his best streak in his Cup career. He has climbed from 21st to 15th in the standings during this run.

William Byron

  • Points position: 3rd
  • Best finish this season: 1st (Las Vegas I, Phoenix I, Darlington I)
  • Past at WWTR: 19th last year

Byron has finished no worse than seventh in the last five races. He’s led nearly 20% of the laps run during that time. Byron has averaged nearly 47 points a race during that streak.


Corey LaJoie

  • Points position: 20th
  • Best finish this season: 4th (Atlanta I)
  • Past at WWTR: 36th last season

NASCAR’s one-race suspension to Chase Elliott gives LaJoie the chance to drive a Hendrick Motorsports car for the first time. This will be the best car LaJoie has driven in his career. Many eyes will be on him to see how he does.

Ross Chastain

Chastain has finished 29th and 22nd in the last two points races. He’s not gone more than three races without a top-10 finish this season. After his struggles last weekend at Charlotte, Chastain saw his lead cut to one point over Coca-Cola 600 winner Ryan Blaney in the standings. Five drivers are within 17 points of Chastain in the season standings.

Aric Almirola

  • Points position: 26th
  • Best finish this season: 6th (Martinsville I)
  • Past at WWTR: 5th last year

Almirola has finished 13th or worse in all but one race this season for Stewart-Haas Racing. In the five races since placing sixth at Martinsville, Almirola has finished an average of 21.0.