Martin Truex Jr. nearly pulled off a come-from-behind win at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, but Joey Logano nudged him out of the way to claim the first race of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs Round of 8.
Though Logano led 309 of the 500 laps, Truex Jr. made things interesting, climbing from fourth to second place in the final 20 laps. It appeared for a moment that Truex Jr. would beat Logano, but Logano did what he needed to do in order to claim a must-have victory — much to the displeasure of Truex Jr., who displayed his emotions after the race with two thumbs down as Logano celebrated.
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Behind Logano, Truex Jr. finished third (Denny Hamlin passed him at the last moment) and Kyle Busch finished fourth. A Stage 3 crash caused Clint Bowyer to have the worst showing among playoff drivers at 21st.
Updated playoff standings:
1. Kyle Busch
2. Martin Truex Jr.
3. Kevin Harvick
4. Joey Logano (clinched)
5. Kurt Busch -25
6: Chase Elliott -31
7. Clint Bowyer -42
8. Aric Almirola -50
Sporting News provided live updates and race highlights throughout the afternoon. Here’s how Logano won:
NASCAR at Martinsville: Race results, highlights
Caution flags: 8
Lead changes: 11 among six drivers
Lap leaders: Joey Logano (309), Kyle Busch (100), Brad Keselowski (41), Denny Hamlin (31), Martin Truex Jr. (18), Clint Bowyer (1)
(All times ET)
6:23 p.m. — Truex Jr. is NOT HAPPY about the physical ending. He tells NBCSN that Logano won’t win the championship.
“He may have won the battle, but he ain’t win the damn war.” — @MartinTruex_Jr pic.twitter.com/wwYnSLY9ln
6:15 p.m. — Those final last laps were remarkable. Wow.
. @joeylogano : “This was our shot. Maybe our only shot.” #NASCAR
Best race of the Playoffs
6:14 p.m. — Logano wins! What a great job from him to hold off Truex Jr. He nudged the 78 car off his path to cross the finish line.
WHAT A FINISH! #NASCARPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/YNEMDjARG3
6:12 p.m. — What a finish we have here.
This #NASCAR finish is bananas
Side-by-side for the lead at the line with five laps to go. They are still fighting for it coming to four to go #NASCARPlayoffs | #FirstData500
6:11 p.m. — Truex Jr. moves into second place with 10 laps remaining! Can he pass Logano for first?
6:07 p.m. — Twenty more laps. Logano, Keselowski and Kyle Busch lead the field.
6:06 p.m. — Harvick has been off the pace for much of the day, but he’s climbed to eighth place with 28 laps remaining.
5:57 p.m. — Bowyer spins after a crash with Jimmie Johnson.
Big #NASCARPlayoffs implications as @ClintBowyer spins out and brings out the caution.
He was three-wide with @JimmieJohnson and @Daniel_SuarezG . pic.twitter.com/ybYXDvsYBe
Bowyer got tagged by Johnson, who was under fire from Daniel Suarez going into Turn 3. Three-wide does not work at Martinsville #NASCARPlayoffs | #FirstData500
5:51 p.m. — It’s been a pretty clean run for the playoff drivers.
All playoff drivers are in the top 11. Almirola is lowest running in 11th with 57 to go. #NASCAR
5:49 p.m. — Brad Keselowski is in the lead, but there are several cars close behind him.
5:43 p.m. — Right after the restart Chase Elliott has a car problem.
Smoke from the No. 9 car, but @chaseelliott continues to roll, currently in P9.
Leaderboard: https://t.co/cV9w1ogx9F pic.twitter.com/96crwCGus2
5:33 p.m. — Kyle Larson is done.
The cleanup is taking a while because they’re struggling to get the @KyleLarsonRacin car on the wrecker
That’s a wrap for @KyleLarsonRacin .
How many more cautions will we see over the final 100 laps? pic.twitter.com/TEQcyFgxKH
5:25 p.m. — Logano being in contention shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Joey Logano made two of the first three winner-take-all championship races at Homestead before missing the playoffs completely last season.
If he wins today, Logano will have been a finalist in three of the five championship races.
5:17 p.m. — Another caution flag comes out. Timmy Hill’s car is on fire.
Caution is out for fire on pit road with @TimmyHillRacer ‘s No. 66 machine. pic.twitter.com/GS9KJ8KSXK
5:14 p.m. — It’s about that time…
Ladies and gentleman, the lights are on at @MartinsvilleSwy #NASCAR
5:09 p.m. — Caution for William Byron.
5:07 p.m. — Truex Jr. passes Logano for the lead.
New leader on lap 360
Martin Truex Jr.
Here’s the pass into Turn 1. pic.twitter.com/K7q5TPnLwe
4:54 p.m. — Make that second place for Truex Jr. There are 170 laps to go.
4:51 p.m. — Truex Jr. is up to third place.
. @MartinTruex_Jr finally gets around @KurtBusch for third.
A win today would guarantee a shot at defending his 2017 title. #TruexJr pic.twitter.com/Azrrnw25G2
4:47 p.m. — Kevin Harvick is in 14th — lowest among playoff drivers.
4:31 p.m. — Ryan Newman receives a penalty.
Pit stop PENALTY at the 31 of @RyanJNewman busted for speeding at @MartinsvilleSwy #NASCAR
4:27 p.m. — Logano takes Stage 2. Here’s the top 10 as it stands right now:
Top-10 Stage 2
10. @keselowski #NASCAR
And that was just the end of Stage 2!
It was so fun, we had to watch it again. #NASCARPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/yrqyJ3cwpa
4:22 p.m. — Halfway done with the race. Logano is in the lead.
4:19 p.m. — It hasn’t been a good day for Kyle Larson.
. @KyleLarsonRacin goes TWO laps down. #NASCAR
4:14 p.m. — For the second time in Stage 2, Truex Jr. makes contact with another car.
. @MartinTruex_Jr makes contact again! This time it’s with @StenhouseJr . #TruexJr | #NASCARPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/3jNXbb9hG6
4:10 p.m. — Weather could be an issue. We’re keeping our fingers crossed it’s not.
4:00 PM EDT: Rain showers continue to quickly approach @MartinsvilleSwy – now abt 25 mi WNW of track. Gusty conditions expected with light showers. Monitoring w/ @NASCAR_WXMAN #NASCARPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/AK1X0gWI61
4:03 p.m. — Bowyer and Truex Jr. clash.
Contact between @ClintBowyer and @MartinTruex_Jr !
Tune in as the action heats up in Stage 2 on @NBCSN . #NASCARPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/YV6rOWmjBJ
3:59 p.m. — We’re 185 laps in.
10. @keselowski #NASCAR
3:49 p.m. — Joey Logano has the lead. The Busch brothers are in second and third.
Brothers comin’ through! @KyleBusch , @KurtBusch get by @dennyhamlin and currently run P2 and P3. #NASCARPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/27s62YCuQc
3:45 p.m. — Time to end the drought?
Lap 143: @MartinTruex_Jr keeps on moving up and now sits P6. He’s 0-for-77 on short tracks in his career #FirstData500
3:37 p.m. — Denny Hamlin wins Stage 1. Here’s how the others did:
NASCAR Cup Martinsville Stage 1
1. @dennyhamlin 10CP
2. @joeylogano 9CP
3. @KyleBusch 8CP
4. @ClintBowyer 7CP
5. @KurtBusch 6CP
6. @RyanJNewman 5CP
7. @MartinTruex_Jr 4CP
8. @Blaney 3CP
9. @KevinHarvick 2CP
10. @Aric_Almirola 1CP
11. @chaseelliott 0CP
3:30 p.m. — There are 17 more laps left in Stage 1. Truex Jr. is up to 10th.
3:23 p.m. — Playoff drivers are holding steady, occupying much of the top 10.
The championship drivers are all inside the top-10 … except Martin Truex in P14.
3:18 p.m. — Another caution is out, this time for Jimmie Johnson.
Caution is out for @JimmieJohnson at @MartinsvilleSwy .
Who will go to pit road? Find out on @NBCSN and the @NBCSports app: https://t.co/BHXvTwJmNc pic.twitter.com/bpJVebffnv
3:09 p.m. — Truex Jr. hasn’t been sharp so far, but there’s still plenty of time.
Chase Elliott is working on Newman for 10th — and a championship point.
Martin Truex is 23rd.
69 left in the stage.
3:06 p.m. — Kyle Busch remains in the lead through 50 laps.
3:03 p.m. — Caution. Jeb Burton hits a wall.
2:56 p.m. — A little teammate drama going on here. Elliott is in 17th right now.
. @chaseelliott responds, “I’ve about had enough of it….” #NASCAR https://t.co/Um61CEIVGv
2:49 p.m. — Through the first 15 laps, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Clint Bowyer are in front.
2:43 p.m. — Truex Jr. is among the drivers starting from the rear this afternoon.
Reminder of which drivers starting at the rear: @MartinTruex_Jr , @JimmieJohnson , Paul Menard, @DavidRagan , @BubbaWallace , @jjyeley1 , @JebBurtonRacing & @TimmyHillRacer . That’s one heck of a list. #NASCAR #FirstData500
2:34 p.m. — We’re just about underway.
A beautiful day for a @MartinsvilleSwy flyover! #NASCARPlayoffs | #FirstData500 pic.twitter.com/w4LnQxlejY
1:38 p.m. — Johnson officially has a new sponsor after Lowe’s ended its partnership with him.
NEWS: @JimmieJohnson and @TeamHendrick announce Ally as full-season primary sponsor for No. 48 team in 2019.
Details: https://t.co/8duqtoApm0 pic.twitter.com/veJiXf70Ud
1:31 p.m. — Big news upcoming for Jimmie Johnson.
MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT: We will introduce a new FULL-SEASON primary sponsor of @JimmieJohnson and the No. 48 team at 1:30 p.m. ET on @NBCSN . Tune in for the news! pic.twitter.com/hwMTebuJlB
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