The racing action at the Martinsville (VA) Speedway in 2019 saw some dominating performances. Brad Keselowski led 446 of 500 laps in his March victory around the .526-mile short track. On Sunday, Martin Truex Jr. one upped him.
Truex, led 464 of 500 laps run in Sunday’s First Data 500 en route to a dominating win. His seventh trip to victory lane in 2019 will stamp his name into the Championship 4 for the third straight year and the fourth time in the last five overall as Truex looks to secure his second championship in the last three seasons.
He has good karma on his side too. Two of the last three Martinsville playoff winners have gone on to win the outright championship a few weeks later in Homestead. Can Truex make it three for the last four?
He certainly has the car to do so. JGR has won four of the seven playoff races run in 2019 with Truex taking three of those four wins himself. JGR has also won 17 of the 33 races run this season too.
For Truex though, this was all about redemption. He had a shot to win last year’s race on the Virginia paperclip before Joey Logano roughed him up on the final lap in the final corner. This year, Truex didn’t let anyone close to him.
The New Jersey native took over the lead for the final time on Lap 260 and never looked back in leading the final 240 laps of the race. This was his 26th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, 23 of which coming since the start of the 2016 season. No one has more in that time frame. He also has nine playoff victories as well, again, most in the series too.
Where Truex has become a complete driver is, heading into 2019, he was 0-for-80 on short tracks in his racing career at NASCAR’s highest level. Now, three of his seven wins this season have come on short tracks as he swept both races in Richmond and now triumphs in Martinsville.
He swept both stages run on Sunday for a total of eight stage wins in 2019, five of which coming in the playoffs alone.
William Byron would come home a career best runner-up in his No. 24 Chevrolet. Byron, just didn’t have enough to get to Truex’s No. 19 Toyota’s bumper as he had to settle for his fifth top seven finish in his last eight starts on the season. The North Carolina native was sixth in both stages on Sunday.
Keselowski, backed up his 446 lap led effort from March to bring his No. 2 Ford home third in Sunday’s race. Keselowski, now has three straight top five finishes in Martinsville and nine straight top 10’s.
Denny Hamlin would net his fourth straight top five finish on the season in his No. 11 Toyota and five in the last six races run with a fourth place run on Sunday. He led the first 30 laps of the day from the pole.
Ryan Blaney would round out the top five in his No. 12 Ford for his fifth straight top 10 on the Virginia paperclip.