Blue Emu Pain Relief 500 RECAP


Photo via USA TODAY

For the first time in the 2021 season, NASCAR has its first repeat winner Martin Truex Jr. at Martinsville. After a rain delay stopped the race after 48 laps on Saturday night, the race resumed Sunday afternoon to decide who would come out on top. The race had a little bit of everything with long runs, big pileups, hard racing, and one of the best burnouts ever. Let’s take a look at the Blue Emu Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

NASCAR had its first weekend off last week with the Easter Holiday and many drivers were ready to go racing at the shortest track on the circuit. NASCAR’s new qualifying formula awarded Joey Logano the pole position with Denny Hamlin alongside on the front row. The race was set to run on Saturday night despite rain most of the day but the race was started after a small delay. Denny Hamlin led most of the 48 laps that were run before rain washed out the evening.

When the covers came off the cars Sunday afternoon, there was still basically all of the race left with the stage set for short track mayhem. Denny Hamlin dominated most of stage one but was eventually passed by Ryan Blaney who had a dominant car. Blaney was able to easily build a gap to Hamlin and lap almost half of the field en route to winning stage one. There was a ton of small incidents as well chalked up to hard racing such as Kurt Busch spinning around in stage one, Ryan Newman spinning out in stage two, and Bubba Wallace getting involved with Kevin Harvick. Ryan Blaney ended up winning stage two as well despite a late charge from Denny Hamlin.

Stage three was where the race got extremely interesting with many cautions, penalties, and a change of pace at the front. Kyle Busch was one of the many cars that spun around after having a brake issue, Brad Keselowski spun after contact with Daniel Suarez, and once again Ryan Newman with some hard racing in the back. With 111 laps left, there was a big pileup that involved around ten cars and a parking lot on the backstretch. This pileup most notably took out Brad Keselowski, Ryan Preece, and Alex Bowman. A pit road penalty proved very costly which sent Ryan Blaney from the front of the field to the end of the lead lap in 20th. Since there were not many laps left Blaney struggled to work his way back to the front. Hamlin led most of the way until just over 40 laps left when Martin Truex Jr. took over the lead. Truex didn’t look back and cruised to the finish taking his second win of the year moving him atop the playoff standings.


Photo via Lasco Press

Truex won the race finishing with 20 laps led, a late charge from Chase Elliott saw him take second place, and rounding out the top three was Denny Hamlin who led over half the race with 276 laps led. Ryan Blaney was only able to muster an eleventh place finish after the pit road penalty and his teammate pole-sitter Joey Logano finished 6th. Other notables Kyle Busch despite his two spins finishing tenth, Kevin Harvick with another top ten finishing 9th, and William Byron quietly finishing 4th with 9 laps led.

Next week NASCAR heads to Richmond Raceway, another short track with some more great racing on tap. I will bring you the recap and it should be another great short track race. All stats via NASCAR.com

-CM

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