William Byron wins Cup race at Martinsville Speedway


William Byron got a perfect restart in overtime to claim the win Saturday night at Martinsville Speedway.

Byron, who led a race-high 212 of 403 laps, earned his second NASCAR Cup Series win of 2022, marking the first multi-win season of his career and making him the first repeat winner of the season.

The No. 24 Chevrolet went to Victory Lane at Martinsville for the first time since Jeff Gordon won his 93rd and final career win there in 2015.

MORE: Martinsville results, points

MORE: What drivers said

In overtime, which was set up after Todd Gilliland contacted the Turn 4 wall with six laps to go, Byron lined up to the inside of Joey Logano. The duo ran nose to nose through Turn 1, but Byron rolled the center of the corner perfectly and pulled away for the victory.

Chase Elliott led the first 185 laps, sweeping each of the night’s two stages. The only cautions through the first 312 laps flew for those aforementioned stage breaks. That was until Denny Hamlin, who had a miserable night, stalled on the frontstretch at Lap 313 for the third caution of the night. Gilliland’s wall contact was the fourth and final caution period.

Under the Stage 2 caution, Byron beat Elliott off pit road for the first lead change of the evening at Lap 186. The No. 24 Chevrolet proceeded to lead all but six of the remaining 218 laps. Ryan Blaney led for five laps during a green-flag pit cycle, and Austin Dillon was credited with a lap led on the Lap 320 restart in which he beat Byron back to the start/finish line.

The lack of lead changes highlighted the difficulty drivers found while attempting to pass around the tight 0.526-mile oval. Cole Custer spent each of the first two stages inside the top five, but a tire violation on pit road under the Stage 2 yellow sent the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford to the rear of the field to start Stage 3. Custer finished 21st, one lap down.

Like Custer, Bell ran inside the top five for much of the evening. However, a pit-road penalty at Lap 294 for his crew coming over the wall too early forced him to serve a pass-through penalty under green-flag conditions. Bell finished 20th, the first car off the lead lap.

Completing the top five behind Byron were Logano, Dillon, Blaney and Ross Chastain. Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Aric Almirola, Chase Briscoe and Elliott rounded out the top 10.

There were no issues in post-race inspection. The Nos. 10 and 43 cars will be taken to the NASCAR R&D Center for further inspection.

Stage 1 winner: Chase Elliott

Stage 2 winner: Chase Elliott

Who had a good race: Austin Dillon proved to have an excellent car Saturday and was one of very few cars who could charge through the field, particularly on the long run. Dillon was second before the choose zone on the final restart but chose to line up behind leader Byron. The No. 3 Chevrolet spun its tires and eventually finished third behind Logano. … Ross Chastain didn’t seem to have a car to contend with the frontrunners on Saturday but capitalized late en route to his fifth top-five finish in the last six races.

Who had a bad race: Denny Hamlin qualified 25th and was never a factor in Saturday’s race. The five-time Martinsville winner finished 28th, three laps off the pace. It was a stark contrast from one week ago, where he and Joe Gibbs Racing looked to have turned a corner on short tracks by winning at Richmond Raceway on April 3. Likewise, teammate Martin Truex Jr., who won three of the last five races at Martinsville, finished 22nd and two laps down.

Notable: Hendrick Motorsports has now won three of the last four races at Martinsville, courtesy of three different drivers (Chase Elliott, November 2020; Alex Bowman, November 2021). The program also notches its 27th win at Martinsville and exceeded 10,000 laps led at the facility, the first team to do so at a single track.

Next race: The series hits the dirt as NASCAR heads to Bristol Motor Speedway on April 17 (7 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

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.

NASCAR suspends Chase Elliott one race for incident with Denny Hamlin


NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one Cup race for wrecking Denny Hamlin in Monday’s Coca-Cola 600, the sanctioning body announced Tuesday.

“We take this very seriously,” Elton Sawyer, senior vice president of competition, said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “The incident that happened off Turn 4, again after looking at all the available resources — in-car camera, data, SMT, which basically gives us (a car’s) steering, throttle, gives us braking — it was an intentional act by Chase in our opinion.”

Hendrick Motorsports stated that it would not appeal the penalty. Corey LaJoie will drive the No. 9 car for Hendrick Motorsports this weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway. Carson Hocevar will drive LaJoie’s car this weekend.

Hendrick Motorsports also stated that it would submit a waiver request for Elliott to remain eligible for the playoffs. Sawyer said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that “I don’t see any reason at this point in time why wouldn’t (grant the waiver) when that request comes across our desk.”

This weekend will mark the seventh race in the first 15 that Elliott will have missed. He missed six races after breaking his leg in a snowboarding accident in early March. Elliott, who is winless this season, is 29th in points.

Elliott and Hamlin got together shortly before the halfway mark in Monday’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

As they ran together, Hamlin forced Elliott toward the wall. Elliott’s car slapped the wall. Elliott then made contact with the right rear of Hamlin’s car, sending Hamlin into the wall.

“I got right-rear hooked in the middle of the straightway,” Hamlin said after the incident. “Yes, it was a tantrum. He shouldn’t be racing next week. Right-rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable. He shouldn’t be racing.”

Said Sawyer on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio: “In the heat of the battle, things happen, but they have to learn to react in a different way. … Our drivers need to understand that you have to handle that in a completely different way than hooking someone in the right rear and putting them in harm’s way, not only with just a major head-on collision like Denny had, but also other competitors.”

Sawyer also said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that “nothing gave us the indication that on that particular contact with the fourth-turn wall … that anything was broke” on Elliott’s car and could have caused him to come down and hit Hamlin’s car in the right rear.

NASCAR also announced that Scott Brzozowski and Adam Lewis, crew members on Michael McDowell‘s team, had each been suspended two races after McDowell’s car lost a tire in Monday’s race.

Winners and losers at Charlotte Motor Speedway


A look at winners and losers from Monday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway:


Ryan Blaney — Blaney stopped his winless streak at 59 races and gave team owner Roger Penske his second major race victory in two days. Blaney had the best car but had to fight through restarts late in the race to win.

William Byron — Byron, the winningest driver this season, barely missed getting victory No. 4. He finished second and scored his fifth straight top 10.

Martin Truex Jr. — Truex logged his third top five of the season.

23XI RacingBubba Wallace was fourth and Tyler Reddick fifth, giving 23XI Racing a pair of top-five finishes for the first time in a points race.


Jimmie Johnson — The seven-time champion admitted having problems adjusting to the Next Gen car on a 1.5-mile track. He crashed early and finished last.

Legacy Motor Club — It was a bad night for Jimmie Johnson and his team’s drivers. Johnson finished last in the 37-car field. Noah Gragson was 36th. Erik Jones placed 32nd.

Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin — Two drivers who had strong cars didn’t make it to the finish after crashing near the halfway point. Hamlin said Elliott “shouldn’t be racing next week. Right-rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable. He shouldn’t be racing.”