The 500 lap race got started on Saturday night where Joey Logano fired off on pole under the lights ahead of Denny Hamlin. Laps later, Denny would get under Logano’s 22 and make the pass for the lead where he would pull away.
Things would be quiet until lap 37 when teammates James Davison and Cody Ware came together causing James to spin into the wall. Davison was left with minor damage. While under caution, the rain picked back up forcing the race into a red flag situation with Denny Hamlin being left in the lead. After some attempts to dry the track, NASCAR postponed the rest of the event for Sunday.
The race resumed under bright sunny skies on lap 47. Hamlin shot out to the lead with Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott in his toe for a few laps before lap 50, when Kurt Busch and Erik Jones made contact in the middle of turns three and four. Kurt was sent into a full 360 but made no contact. He got back going unscathed.
The race restarted on lap 57 right where it was left off, Denny Hamlin ahead of Ryan Blaney. The race was relatively quiet with many gaining and losing positions throughout the pack, with Ryan Blaney and Denny Hamlin battling hard ahead. On lap 75, Blaney would get the edge into the lead where he would pull away to over a second with less than 50 laps left in the stage.
Behind this was Daniel Suarez, who had started at the back and worked his way to the top 20 before being forced to pit under green from a loose wheel. He lost 2 laps. Blaney spent the rest of the stage dominating and lapping many big names right outside of the top 20. Blaney’s dominance carried to his second stage win of 2021. Aric Almirola battled and stayed on the lead lap while Suarez made the pass with less than two to go to earn one of his two laps back, Ricky Stenhouse Jr receiving the free pass in the 22nd position.
After leading 69 laps in stage 1, Ryan Blaney kept the lead off pit road while Chase Elliott came in 4th and lost five positions. On the restart to start stage 2, Denny Hamlin overtook Blaney and pulled away to over a second. After 45 laps of racing, he caught Hamlin and made the pass for the top spot. The race continued with a long green-flag run of 50-60 laps in which Ryan Blaney led the way.
With 20 laps to go in stage 2, Cody Ware blew a tire entering turn 3 and spun straight into the outside wall making contact, but not too serious. He continued on while Ryan Blaney once again won the race off pit road over Hamlin and Truex. Joey Logano got a speeding penalty during these stops after he came in 18th.
The stage restarted with 13 to go; Blaney capitalized and kept the lead from a fast Denny Hamlin. Throughout the pack, there were many close calls between Austin Dillon and Kyle Larson and later Ryan Newman and Matt DiBenedetto, that placed the race under caution with less than 10 laps in stage 2. Ryan Newman got loose in turn 1 under Aric Almirola and got it in the left front fender by DiBenedetto. Both got heavy contact which was repaired. Many drivers took the wave around under this caution, including Bubba Wallace who got the free pass.
Stage 2 concluded with a two-lap shootout where Blaney shot out to a big lead while Hamlin spun his tires. Hamlin made up the ground and got to Blaney’s inside out of turn 4, but there wasn’t enough time as Blaney took the stage by half a car length. This swept the stages and allowed Blaney to continue with his dominant run. Hamlin, Keselowski and Byron stayed out under this caution while Blaney and others pitted for fresh tires. Corey Lajoie received the free pass.
Denny Hamlin powered ahead on the restart and immediately started gaining time on Brad Keselowski in second place. Just a few laps into the run, Justin Haley blew a tire and spun but didn’t receive any damage. Of the cars who pitted, Martin Truex Jr made it to 8th and Ryan Blaney was right behind in 9th.
Hamlin jumped back out the lead on the lap 283 restart, while many battles occurred behind him. Joey Logano charged up to 2nd before the race was put under caution yet again for Cody Ware. Denny Hamlin and others would pit while Wallace, Newman, Suarez, and others stayed out. Christopher Bell lost spots under these stops for overshooting his pit stall. Austin Dillon got hit harder after pitting outside his box. He was held for a lap.
Wallace and Newman battled side by side for a lap before Bubba cleared him and took the lead. Behind the top 4 was a lot of close short track racing that was three-wide at many moments. Bubba stayed ahead for 25 laps before he got overtaken by William Byron for the top spot on lap 316. Ryan Blaney made his way to 8th at this point but reported some very high engine temperatures. Just a few laps later, Hamlin made it to 2nd, one second off of Byron’s #24. Then, Hamlin’s teammate, Kyle Buch, spun after something reportedly broke inside his car.
Denny Hamlin won the race off pit road and is told that teams are 10-15 laps short on making it to the finish with 175 laps left. Hamlin took off from the lead on the restart with Byron in 2nd and Ryan Newman in 3rd. Yet another caution was thrown a few laps later from Anthony Alfredo spinning in turn 2 but making no contact with the wall. Briscoe received the free pass from this caution. Hamlin continued his lead on the restart as Bowman got past his teammate for 2nd. Another caution would occur for Brad Keselowski and his orange #2 spinning after contact with Daniel Suarez with 161 laps to go. Keselowski went to pit road and fixed a few mechanical issues under the hood.
The race restarted with 154 to go as Denny shot out into another lead. On the backstretch, Ryan Blaney created a stack-up that ended in Bubba Wallace spinning Ryan Newman out. Ryan made no further contact but Aric Almirola got heavy contact after slamming into the back of Daniel Suarez.
Hamlin led another restart with just 146 to go. Alex Bowman ran top 5 all day before reporting a big vibration that wasn’t getting any better. He came to the pits. Laps later, Erik Jones got spun in turn 4 but just missed hitting anything. Chastain and Bell stayed out under the caution and took the lead on the restart. Hamlin quickly jumped to 2nd while Blaney got to 3rd. With 119 to go, Hamlin took the lead from his teammate and flew away.
Then, the big one of the day happened when Kyle Busch and Chris Buecher made contact off of turn 2 and started a big pileup involving Bowman, Keselowski, Jones, Suarez, Preece, and many others that had their days ended early. The red flag was put to clean the scene on the backstretch. The race went back to yellow around 20 minutes later for a 100 lap dash to the finish.
The next restart had Hamlin and Blaney on the front row. Hamlin got the edge while Blaney tucked in behind. Hamlin got out to a second lead in 15 laps while Blaney slowly started to move in for the lead with 93 to go. Twenty laps later, Blaney was right on Hamlin’s bumper with Truex not far behind. For laps, Blaney continued to pressure Hamlin but struggled to get close enough to make a move. Finally, with 50 laps to go, things started to get interesting, as Chase Briscoe spun into the turn 4 wall and broke a 50-lap green-flag run.
The upcoming pit stops changed everything when Ryan Blaney ran over his air hose leaving his stall which resulted in a penalty. Upfront more things changed, as Truex beat Hamlin off pit road and took the lead of the race with just 44 laps to go. Truex let the restart and battled the 11 hard, but Hamlin’s speed on top prevailed. He took the lead with just 40 laps to go. As the lights turned on over the track, Hamlin didn’t pull away as fast and still pressured his teammate with 30 laps to go. Right as this takes place upfront, a new challenger rises to the occasion, which was Chase Elliott running faster than the leaders. With 24 laps to go, Truex looked to the inside but fails to complete his first pass attempt for the lead.
With 15 laps to go, Truex finally completed the pass and took charge at Martinsville. Martin quickly pulls over a second.
With 5 laps to go, Chase Elliott moved past Hamlin for the runner-up position. In the end, it was no match for Martin Truex Jr, who goes to victory lane for the second time this year.
|1||19||Martin Truex Jr||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|2||9||Chase Elliott||Hendrick Motorsports|
|3||11||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|4||24||William Byron||Hendrick Motorsports|
|5||5||Kyle Larson||Hendrick Motorsports|
|6||22||Joey Logano||Team Penske|
|7||20||Christopher Bell||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|8||8||Tyler Reddick||Richard Childress Racing|
|9||4||Kevin Harvick||Stewart Haas Racing|
|10||18||Kyle Busch||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|11||12||Ryan Blaney||Team Penske|
|12||21||Matt Dibenedetto||Wood Brothers Racing|
|13||17||Chris Buescher||Roush Fenway Racing|
|14||3||Austin Dillon||Richard Childress Racing|
|15||47||Ricky Stenhouse Jr||JTG Daugherty Racing|
|16||23||Bubba Wallace||23XI Racing|
|17||42||Ross Chastain||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|18||41||Cole Custer||Stewart Haas Racing|
|19||6||Ryan Newman||Roush Fenway Racing|
|20||10||Aric Almirola||Stewart Haas Racing|