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Martinsville 500 Race Preview

Written by Gabriel Tsui, Edited by Hugh W

Image Credits - NASCAR

After an amazing race weekend in Miami, the field will be heading to Martinsville for the final race of the Round of 8. Currently, Tyler Reddick, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr, and Chris Buescher are under the cutline. Can any of the aforementioned turn the ship around and secure a place to Phoenix?


Homestead 400 Race Debrief

Early into the race, Martin Truex Jr was fighting Bubba Wallace and William Byron for the lead, and held his own for a while, until Byron eventually capitalized on a mistake by Truex and overtook for the lead. However, Byron later on conceded the lead to Kyle Larson and Brad Keselowski, with Larson eventually taking the stage win under caution.


Larson led the way for most of stage two, and at one point held a lead over second place Ryan Blaney by a margin of 5.6 seconds. Then, Blaney slowly but steadily started to catch up, and overtook Larson for the stage win. In the final stage, Blaney and Byron fought for the first couple of laps of the stage, but Blaney held firm and didn’t concede his position.


After two consecutive cautions, Denny Hamlin and Blaney held the lead, but Christopher Bell, who started the stage in 20th place, stormed ahead of the two leaders after Hamlin pushed Blaney up the track. After a couple more laps of fighting between Hamlin and Blaney, Hamlin brought out the caution flag after he lost the steering and went straight to the barriers.


After another two cautions, Blaney and Byron led the way, with Bell falling back to third place after a sub-par pit stop by the #20 crew. However, Bell stormed back, overtaking Blaney with 23 laps to go and Byron with 16 laps to go. In one of the most spectacular comeback of the season, Mr. Clutch delivers yet again with a tenacious and determined win.


Track Preview

The Martinsville speedway is located south of Martinsville, Virginia. The track is one of NASCAR’s oldest tracks, built in 1947. It is also one of the shortest tracks on the calendar, with a length of 0.526 miles (0.847 kilometers). The turns have a banking of 12 degrees, a small banking for a short track.


This is one of the few races that has been on every year of NASCAR racing, hosting races since 1949. Legendary drivers such as Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Richard Petty, and Darrell Waltrip have all won six times, and the only active driver with five wins in Martinsville is Denny Hamlin. The drivers will run 500 laps around the track, with 130 laps each in stages one and two, then 240 laps in the final stage.


This will be the penultimate race of the season, and the final race of the round of 8. Last year’s race had one of the most impressive finishes in NASCAR history, with Bell taking yet another clutch win and the forever legendary “Hail Melon” move by Ross Chastain. We will see if this year’s race produces any great moments like 2022.


The race will commence on 29th of October, Sunday, at 14:00 ET (11:00 PT, 20:00 CEST). Weather report shows that there will be no rain on the race weekend, with temperature around 81 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius).


Race Predictions

After a late surge in the regular season, the Fords have been quiet for most of the playoffs, other than a Ryan Blaney win in Talladega. In the round of 8, Ryan Blaney had decent races in Las Vegas and Homestead, finishing sixth and second respectively. He is ten points above the cut line, and is expected to make the playoffs. However, on the other side, Chris Buescher had a poor two races, finishing 11th in Las Vegas and 21st in Homestead. He is currently 43 points below the cut line, which puts him in a must win situation in Martinsville. Can he make a comeback and secure a championship 4 appearance?


However, Martin Truex Jr could be there to spoil the Ford party. Even though he had a sub-par postseason, he is still one of the favorites to advance to the next round. He has won twice in Martinsville in the past, and in a must win situation, he might be the one to overcome the half mile speedway, and take the important win to advance to the next round. He has shown that he can win in clutch time situations, and this might be the place he finally steps up and secure the transfer to Phoenix.


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