NASCAR at Martinsville 2021 Results: Martin Truex Jr. Earns 2nd Win of Season

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 12, 2021

Martin Truex Jr waves to fans from Victory Lane after winning a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Phoenix Raceway, Sunday, March 14, 2021, in Avondale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
Ralph Freso/Associated Press

Martin Truex Jr. won his second race of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, collecting the checkered flag in the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia.

Truex is the first driver to notch two wins this year, which vaults him to the top of the championship playoff standings. He has been dominant on short tracks of late, with Sunday's victory his fifth in his last 11 tries, per DriverAverages.com.


FIRST REPEAT WINNER OF 2021. Retweet to congratulate @MartinTruex_Jr on his Martinsville victory! https://t.co/5xO8wJxlyY

The cliche "it's not how you start, it's how you finish" held true Sunday. Truex led just 20 of the 500 laps, but he dominated when it counted the most.

"It was pretty incredible here at the end," he said in his post-race interview on FS1 (via PRN). "We never could quite get it the way we wanted, but at the end it came to life."

Down the final stretch, the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 became a three-horse race between Truex, Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott, who were comfortably ahead of the rest of the field. Truex subsequently opened a wide lead on Elliott and Hamlin, leaving them in a fight for second place.

As Truex coasted to the finish line, Elliott edged out Hamlin. Hamlin didn't have a lot to show for leading more than 100 laps (276) than the next closest driver.


Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 Leaderboard

1. Martin Truex Jr.

2. Chase Elliott

3. Denny Hamlin

4. William Byron

5. Kyle Larson

6. Joey Logano

7. Christopher Bell

8. Tyler Reddick

9. Kevin Harvick

10. Kyle Busch

Full leaderboard available on NASCAR.com


The race officially got underway Saturday, but drivers only managed to get 42 laps completed before steady rainfall hit Ridgeway. Rather than continue to wait things out, NASCAR announced the action would be postponed.

Track officials couldn't have asked for much better conditions Sunday.

Martinsville is the shortest track on the Cup Series and treated fans to plenty of three-wide stretches. Cautions were aplenty as well, and there would've been more than the 15 on the record were it not for some adept driving to avoid danger.


A famous @MartinsvilleSwy h̶o̶t̶ d̶o̶g̶ sandwich! Now we're wondering if a hot dog is a sandwich... 🤔 🌭 https://t.co/Ip2Yx9O5L4


This is NOT what @dennyhamlin wants to see after being shuffled back a few positions thanks to the caution 😧. 📺: FS1 📱: https://t.co/oWWAusOO8X https://t.co/Ukvr4BLuAb


Troublesome Turn 2 takes time to tame. @keselowski | @MartinsvilleSwy https://t.co/augPANFltC


Brad Keselowski isn't exactly pleased with Ross Chastain after this one. "That was pretty bad."- Bowyer https://t.co/iR28rg7wlX

Things ground to a halt with 113 laps remaining. Chris Buescher and Kyle Busch spun out to set off a chain reaction that impacted multiple drivers. The Nos. 17 and 18 cars effectively formed a blockade, which briefly turned Martinsville Speedway into a parking lot.

FOX Sports @FOXSports

The BIG One strikes at NASCAR's shortest track. 😳 https://t.co/HzaFAbWojJ

When the dust cleared, five drivers were unable to continue and headed for the garage. Brad Keselowski was among those whose race ended early, and he reflected on how every step forward Sunday was accompanied by a step backward even before the crash.

Jamie Little @JamieLittleTV

"One of those compounding, frustrating short-track days." We talk with Brad Keselowski after his long weekend ends early at Martinsville. https://t.co/LNjVbFCl5f

The NASCAR Cup Series travels to Richmond Raceway for the Toyota Owners 400 on April 18. It's the first of two races at Richmond, the second of which comes in September following the start of the championship playoffs.

Keselowski was victorious in the last Richmond race, taking the checkered flag in the 2020 Federated Auto Parts 400. The 2012 series champion is still looking for his first victory, so perhaps his luck will turn around this time next week.