The last race at Martinsville Speedway was the beginning of Chase Elliott’s run to the championship and the final race for the Round of 8. The race was filled with excitement. There were 21 lead changes with 10 different drivers leading laps. There were also 12 cautions in the race that provided a lot of opportunities for mistakes on pit road. The No. 9 team almost made a mistake when the jackman jumped over the wall too quickly, but he returned to the wall before pitting the car. The move was the part of the reason why Elliott was the 2020 Cup Series Champion.
Race Rewind Martinsville: Xfinity 500 (2020)
– The 10 drivers who looked the best in the race: Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch, Alex Bowman, Kyle Busch and Clint Bowyer
Stage / Race Results
|1. Denny Hamlin
|1. Chase Elliott
|1. Chase Elliott
|2. Alex Bowman
|2. Martin Truex Jr.
|2. Ryan Blaney
|3. Brad Keselowski
|3. Denny Hamlin
|3. Joey Logano
|4. Chase Elliott
|4. Ryan Blaney
|4. Brad Keselowski
|5. Joey Logano
|5. Kurt Busch
|5. Kurt Busch
|6. Martin Truex Jr.
|6. Kyle Busch
|6. Alex Bowman
|7. Kyle Busch
|7. Brad Keselowski
|7. Aric Almirola
|8. William Byron
|8. Joey Logano
|8. Clint Bowyer
|9. Kurt Busch
|9. Alex Bowman
|9. Kyle Busch
|10. Jimmie Johnson
|10. Ryan Newman
|10. Matt DiBenedetto
– Martin Truex Jr. entered the race at Martinsville last year needing a win to advance to the Championship race. He almost got it. Truex started 2nd, finished 6th in Stage 1, 2nd in Stage 2, led 129 laps (2nd most) and had a 4.17 average running position (2nd best). Truex was leading with 44 laps left in the race when he had a loose wheel. The No. 19 car pitted and finished 22nd. Truex won the June race at Martinsville and the race in November of 2019. He could have easily made it 3 wins in a row without the tire issue.
– Kyle Busch is about as consistent as they come at Martinsville. Rowdy has finished 8 of the last 11 races at Martinsville in the top 5. His race at the track last November was good, but not great. Busch qualified 9th, finished 7th in Stage 1, 6th in Stage 2, led 5 laps, had a 7.46 average running position (7th best) and finished 9th.
– Denny Hamlin is usually really good at his home track. The No. 11 car was fast again in 2020 but Hamlin did not have great results last summer at Martinsville. He started 12th, did not score any Stage points and finished 24th. Hamlin was a bit better in November. He started 4th, led 42 laps at the start of the race, won Stage 1 and finished 3rd in Stage 2. Hamlin had an 8.27 average running position and finished 11th in the race. His finishes at Martinsville before last year were 4th, 5th, 2nd and 7th in the current aero package. Hamlin will have a good chance to finish in the top-five this week.
– Christopher Bell only had experience in the Truck Series at Martinsville before the Cup Series races at Martinsville last year. His Truck Series experience did not translate into success in the Cup Series races. Bell started 22nd and finished 37th in the June race. He started 14th, did not score any Stage points and finished 23rd in November. Bell will be driving the No. 20 car this week. Erik Jones finished 12th at Martinsville in this car last year.
– Brad Keselowski is the safest pick for fantasy teams at Martinsville. He has only won once in his last 5 trips to Martinsville but he always finishes up front. Keselowski finished 4th, 3rd, 3rd, 1st and 5th in his last 5 races at the track. That includes 495 laps led. The No. 2 car started on the pole last November. Keselowski only led 3 laps, but he finished 3rd in Stage 1, 7th in Stage 2, had a 7.67 average running position (8th best) and finished 4th in the race. Keselowski should be a threat to win this week.
– Joey Logano has been almost as consistent as his teammate (Brad Keselowski) at Martinsville. Logano won the race at Martinsville in 2018 and he has finished 5 of his last 6 races at the track in the top 8. Last November Logano started 7th, finished 5th in Stage 1, 8th in Stage 2, led 19 laps, had a 4.89 average running position (3rd best) and finished 3rd. Logano also finished 4th and led a race-high 234 laps in the race last June at Martinsville. He will be a threat again this week at Martinsville.
– Ryan Blaney does not get as much hype at Martinsville as his teammates (Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano) because he has not been to Victory Lane at Martinsville …yet. An argument can be made that Blaney is actually the best driver from the Team Penske Racing at Martinsville. Blaney finished 2nd, 2nd, 5th and 4th in his last 4 races at Martinsville. Last year he finished 2nd in both races. Blaney led 34 laps in the June race and 36 laps in November. Blaney knows his way around Martinsville.
– Matt DiBenedetto has been really good at Martinsville. He finished 16th while driving for Leavine Family Racing at Martinsville in 2019. As expected, DiBenedetto was even better in his Wood Brothers Racing Ford. DiBenedetto started 19th and finished 7th in June. He started 12th and finished 10th in November. His aggressive style of racing will allow DiBenedetto to compete for a top-10 finish again this week.
– Kevin Harvick did not have a lot of success at Martinsville last year. The track ranks as his 18th best (out of 25 tracks on the schedule). Harvick had nothing but problems in the race last November. The No. 4 car started 6th and he quickly fell back through the field. He went a lap down in Stage 1 and on lap 184 the No. 4 car got a flat tire. The tire issue put Harvick 3 laps down. He spent the entire race trying to get his laps back. Harvick finished 17th and was eliminated from the playoffs. Harvick also finished 15th in the June race at Martinsville.
– Chase Briscoe did not compete in the Cup Series race at Martinsville last year but he is lucky that the Xfinity Series made a trip to the track last year. It was the first Xfinity Series race at Martinsville since 2006. Briscoe finished 7th in the race, but at least he has some experience now. Briscoe will be driving the No. 14 car this week. Martinsville was one of the best tracks for Clint Bowyer in the No. 14 car. Bowyer finished 8th at Martinsville last November so the car should have a good setup this week.
– Aric Almirola entered the race at Martinsville after finishing 33rd and 37th in his previous two races. He did his best to end his season on a high note. Almirola started 20th and made his way to the front. He was running 7th when his teammate (Clint Bowyer) spun him out on lap 74. Almirola spent the rest of the race trying to get his track position back. The No. 10 car rebounded for a 7th-place finish.
– Cole Custer had a tough race at Martinsville in June. He started 27th, did not score any Stage points and finished 29th. He must have learned a lot in that race because he showed some improvement in November. Custer started 15th, had a 13.93 average running position (13th best) and finished 13th. We will see if he can continue to improve this week.
– Chase Elliott had the best car in the last race at Martinsville and it was not even close. Elliott started 8th and immediately made his way inside the top 5. Elliott finished 4th in Stage 1 and won Stage 2. Elliott had some problems in the pits but his car was fast enough to get his lead back. Elliott led a race-high 236 laps, had a 2.59 average running position (series-best) and went to Victory Lane. Elliott should have multiple wins at Martinsville but he was spun out by Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano in previous races. Elliott should be one of the favorites to win Sunday.
– Kyle Larson did not compete in the races at Martinsville last year because he was suspended. He probably did not miss not competing at the paper-clip shaped track last year. Martinsville ranks as the 2nd-worst track for Larson. His average finishing position in his 12 races at Martinsville is 22.42. The good news is that his best race was his last (2019). Larson started 14th and finished 9th.
– William Byron finished 2nd at Martinsville in 2019 so many people expected Byron to have a lot of success at the track in 2020. He had one good race and one poor performance. Byron started 15th, finished 10th in Stage 1, 7th in Stage 2 and finished 8th in the June race at Martinsville. Byron started 13th, finished 8th in Stage 1 and he was running 12th with 66 laps left in the race last November. Byron was spun out by Bubba Wallace and it sent the No. 24 car into the fence. Byron finished 35th. He should be a good fantasy pick “if” he can stay out of trouble
– Alex Bowman is not the first name that comes to mind when people think of racing at Martinsville but the No. 88 team had 2 good races at the track last year. Bowman started 8th, scored 7 Stage points and finished 6th in the June race at Martinsville. Bowman started 3rd, finished 2nd in Stage 1, 9th in Stage 2, led 1 lap, had a 7.03 average running position (6th best) and finished 6th last November. He is a good pick for fantasy teams this week.
– Kurt Busch has been really good at Martinsville while driving the No. 1 car for Chip Ganassi Racing. Busch has finished 5th, 9th, 6th and 12th at Martinsville in the No. 1 car. Busch started 9th, scored Stage points in both Stages and finished 9th in June. He started 5th, finished 9th in Stage 1, 5th in Stage 2, led 23 laps, had a 6.36 average running position (4th best) and finished 5th last November. He is a safe pick for fantasy teams this week.
– Ross Chastain did not compete in the Cup Series races at Martinsville last year. He started 4th, led 31 laps and finished 5th in the Xfinity Series race at the track. Chastain will be driving the No. 42 car this week. Matt Kenseth drove this car at Martinsville last year. Kenseth finished 23rd in June and 14th in the November race. It is hard to imagine Chastain improving on what Kenseth did at the track last year.
– Ryan Newman has been good but not great at Martinsville. The track ranks as his 5th best on the schedule. Newman started 16th, did not score any Stage points and finished 12th in the June race at Martinsville. In November Newman started 21st, finished 10th in Stage 2, had a 14.99 average running position (15th best) and finished 18th. He should finish inside the top 20 this week since it is so tough to pass him at this track.
– Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has not been very good at Martinsville in his career. He has 16 starts at the track and a 26.19 average finishing position. Stenhouse started 17th and finished 21st in the June race. He started 18th and finished 20th in the November race. Stenhouse did not score any Stage points in either race. He should finish right inside the top 20 this week.
– Chris Buescher is one of the better picks at Martinsville for DFS when he starts deep in the field. Buescher finished 3 of his last 4 races at Martinsville in the top 13 before the race last November. Buescher started 28th and he was running 17th when he had a tire go down on lap 146. Buescher slammed into the wall and his race was over. He finished 38th.
– Austin Dillon has not been very good at Martinsville. The track ranks as his 21st best (out of 25 tracks on the schedule). Dillon was not very good at Martinsville last year. He started 22nd and crashed in June (Dillon finished 37th). He started 23rd and finished 14th in November. Dillon is a risky pick for fantasy this week but should be low owned in DFS.
– Tyler Reddick had a decent race at Martinsville in June and struggled in November. Reddick started 14th and finished 16th in June. He started 24th, did not score any Stage points, had a 22.78 average running position (24th best) and finished 24th in November.
– Erik Jones entered the November race at Martinsville with a 23.1 average finishing position in his previous 6 races at Martinsville. Jones was competing for a job for the 2021 season so it was not a shock that he had his career best finish in November. Jones started 19th, had a 14.71 average running position (14th best) and finished 12th. He will be driving the No. 43 car this week. Bubba Wallace drove for this team last year. He finished 11th and 21st in his 2 races at Martinsville last year.
– Bubba Wallace has had more success at Martinsville than he has had at any other track in NASCAR. Wallace won two Truck Series races at Martinsville early in his career. He has only been “OK” in the Cup Series. Wallace had one of his best races of the 2020 season at Martinsville last June. He started 23rd, finished 5th in Stage 1, 6th in Stage 2 and 11th in the race. He started 32nd and finished 21st in November. It will be interesting to see what Wallace can do in a Joe Gibbs Racing affiliated car at Martinsville.
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