NASCAR’s weekend Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway began under the lights and ended under the lights, but it took two nights to complete.
The wait was worth it for Martin Truex Jr., who rallied past Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin to the checkered flag on Sunday in the rain-delayed Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500.
Truex overtook Hamlin on Lap 485 of the 500-lap race during a nose-to-tail, then side-by-side, duel late in Stage 3. It was Truex’s second win of the season, making him the first multiple-race winner of 2021 after seven different winners in the season’s first seven races. He also has won three of his past four races at Martinsville.
NASCAR suspended the 500-lap race after 42 laps Saturday night because of showers and restarted it shortly after 4 p.m. ET Sunday under sunny skies. The Xfinity Series had wrapped up its rain-delayed race about two hours earlier.
Ryan Blaney won the race’s first two stages but fell to 11th after pit strategy shook up the field at the start of Stage 3. He was about to overtake Hamlin for the lead with 49 laps remaining but a caution followed by a penalty on the ensuing pit stop took him out of contention.
Sporting News tracked live updates and highlights from the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500, the eighth race of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season.
Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 official results
|Martin Truex Jr.||19||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|Chase Elliott||9||Hendrick Motorsports|
|Denny Hamlin||11||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|William Byron||24||Hendrick Motorsports|
|Kyle Larson||5||Hendrick Motorsports|
|Joey Logano||22||Team Penske|
|Christopher Bell||20||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|Tyler Reddick||8||Richard Childress Racing|
|Kevin Harvick||4||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|Kyle Busch||18||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|Ryan Blaney||12||Team Penske|
|Matt DiBenedetto||21||Wood Brothers Racing|
|Chris Buescher||17||Roush Fenway Racing|
|Austin Dillon||3||Richard Childress Racing|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||47||JTG Daugherty Racing|
|Bubba Wallace||23||23XI Racing|
|Ross Chastain||42||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|Cole Custer||41||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|Ryan Newman||6||Roush Fenway Racing|
|Aric Almirola||10||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|Kurt Busch||1||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|James Davison||15||Rick Ware Racing|
|Josh Bilicki||52||Rick Ware Racing|
|Quin Houff||00||StarCom Racing|
|JJ Yeley||53||Rick Ware Racing|
|Anthony Alfredo||38||Front Row Motorsports|
|Chase Briscoe||14||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|Cody Ware||51||Petty Ware Racing|
|BJ McLeod||78||Live Fast Motorsports|
|Erik Jones||43||Richard Petty Motorsports|
|Michael McDowell||34||Front Row Motorsports|
|Daniel Suarez||99||TrackHouse Racing|
|Brad Keselowski||2||Team Penske|
|Alex Bowman||48||Hendrick Motorsports|
|Justin Haley||77||Spire Motorsports|
|Ryan Preece||37||JTG Daugherty Racing|
|Corey LaJoie||7||Spire Motorsports|
NASCAR at Martinsville live updates, highlights
(All times Eastern)
Sunday, April 11
8:03 p.m. — CHECKERED FLAG! Martin Truex Jr. takes the lead from Denny Hamlin with 16 to go and then drives off for the win. Hamlin settles for third after being passed by Chase Elliott. William Byron and Kyle Larson round out the top five.
7:50 p.m. — Denny Hamlin easily goes around Martin Truex Jr. for the lead and begins to expand his advantage.
7:45 p.m. — No longer clean and green. Caution No. 15 is out for car No. 14, Chase Briscoe, with 49 laps remaining. Denny Hamlin and Ryan Blaney were nose to tail up front when it happened. Oh, what we said earlier about the money stop? NOW we have the money stop and it’s … Martin Truex Jr. beating Hamlin off pit road. Also, Blaney is penalized for running over an air hose and carrying it out of his pit stall.
7:30 p.m. — The red flag was lifted a few minutes ago and the race has managed to stay clean and green since. Denny Hamlin leads Ryan Blaney by half a second with 82 laps remaining.
6:55 p.m. — Red flag for the pileup. Kyle Busch says Chris Buescher came down on him.
6:50 p.m. — Denny Hamlin takes the lead from teammate Christopher Bell with 117 laps to go. Bell stayed out on that last caution. And just after that happens, there’s a big pileup on the backstretch as Kyle Busch and Chris Buescher collide. Caution No. 14 will take some time to clean up.
6:45 p.m. — Ross Chastain spins Brad Keselowski, who spins Erik Jones, and that’s caution No. 13.
Time for the money stop on pit road and it’s … Denny Hamlin out first again, with Joey Logano second. Are we about to see Hamlin get revenge on Logano for beating him in the Bristol dirt race?
6:35 p.m. — Make it a dozen cautions as Ryan Newman goes for a spin and a bunch of cars wreck behind him. The race restarts with 145 laps remaining.
6:25 p.m. — Well, there’s caution No. 11. The cars of Daniel Suarez and Brad Keselowski collide and Keselowski’s car goes for a spin. Suarez’s car ricochets into Cole Custer’s car. The race has 155 laps still to run.
6:20 p.m. — Cautions breed cautions. No. 10 comes just a couple laps into the restart. Anthony Alfredo spins, perhaps with help from Aric Almirola.
6:15 p.m. — Caution No. 9 as Kyle Busch spins. Busch says on the radio that maybe something under the car broke. Denny Hamlin wins the race off pit road and returns to the race lead.
6:10 p.m. — William Byron takes the lead from Bubba Wallace on Lap 316 and then drives away. Byron’s lead is quickly up to half a second.
6:10 p.m. — FS1’s Mike Joy was not thrilled that Cody Ware caused another caution.
6 p.m. — Caution No. 8, for Cody Ware’s car breaking again. Denny Hamlin leads Joey Logano at the time of the yellow, but a bunch of drivers stay out, including Bubba Wallace, who will lead the restart on slightly older tires.
5:50 p.m. — Denny Hamlin leads the field to the green for the start of Stage 3 after staying out along with about half the top 10. Ryan Blaney drops to 11th after pitting. And now there’s caution No. 7 for Justin Haley, who cuts a left rear tire.
5:45 p.m. — RYAN BLANEY WINS STAGE 2. But the end of the stage was very interesting; Denny Hamlin tried to bump Blaney out of the way just yards from line. Let’s see if there’s a repeat of that at the end of the 240-lap closing Stage 3. The rest of the stage top 10: Martin Truex Jr., Alex Bowman, Chase Elliott, Brad Keselowski, William Byron, Tyler Reddick, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch.
5:35 p.m. — Caution No. 5 with nine laps remaining in Stage 2. The cars of Aric Almirola and Ryan Newman make contact, causing Newman’s car to spin, and then the trailing car of Matt DiBenedetto hits Newman’s car, causing damage to both cars.
5:30 p.m. — Blaney wins the race off pit road and keeps the lead for the restart. Joey Logano is sent to the rear for speeding on pit road.
5:25 p.m. — Caution No. 4 with 20 laps to go in Stage 2. Cody Ware’s car spins into the wall after the right rear tire goes flat. Ryan Blaney’s nearly three-second lead over Denny Hamlin is gone.
5:15 p.m. — Ryan Blaney’s lead over Denny Hamlin is up to 2.17 seconds during a long green-flag run.
5:05 p.m. — Ryan Blaney retakes the lead from Denny Hamlin on Lap 46 (of 130) of Stage 2.
5 p.m. — New leader: Denny Hamlin passes Ryan Blaney early in Stage 2 and opens up a lead of about eight-tenths of a second.
4:50 p.m. — Stage 2 is underway. Kyle Busch moved into seventh with a fast pit stop between stages.
4:45 p.m. — RYAN BLANEY WINS STAGE 1. Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, William Byron, Alex Bowman, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Christopher Bell complete the top 10. Blaney now has two stage wins this season.
4:35 p.m. — Ryan Blaney leads Denny Hamlin by 1.65 seconds with 17 laps remaining in Stage 1.
4:15 p.m. — Erik Jones gives Kurt Busch a little tap and spins him around, but the rest of the field manages to avoid crashing into him.
4:10 p.m. — The sun is shining, and the green flag is waving. Here we go.
Saturday, April 10
10:20 p.m. — Sorry, NASCAR fans. The Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 has been postponed and will resume Sunday at 4 p.m. ET.
10:10 p.m. — Track-drying efforts continue, but there could be more showers on the way.
9:45 p.m. — Well, that didn’t last long. NASCAR is bringing the drivers back to pit road after just 42 laps.
9:25 p.m. — And there’s the green flag. Keep those fingers crossed for no more rain.
9:05 p.m. — Engines fired. Lights on. Let’s do this.
8:40 p.m. — We’ve got a new start time. NASCAR is hoping to wave the green flag at 9:10 p.m.
NASCAR says driver to vehicles 8:45, command 8:58, green flag 9:10.
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) April 11, 2021
8:10 p.m. — NASCAR is attempting to dry the track and making some progress.
7:30 p.m. — Yep, the rain is coming down at Martinsville Speedway.
7:05 p.m. — It looks like the initial start time for the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 may be pushed back.
NASCAR race start time today
FS1’s coverage of Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. ET.
The Xfinity engines will be re-fired right at noon ET Sunday and the Cup cars will re-fire right at 4pm ET Sunday. Those races resume once they pull off pit road and should be green 3-6 minutes after they get re-fired
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) April 11, 2021