Martin Truex Jr. cruises to Stage 1 win at Martinsville

Martin Truex Jr. got the lead on pit road and cruised to the Stage 1 victory at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.

Martin Truex Jr. cruises to Stage 1 win at Martinsville

Truex was first off pit road when everyone stopped on Lap 30 of 130 and never looked back, holding off Hamlin by 4.112 seconds.

Ryan Blaney finished third, Clint Bowyer was fourth and Joey Logano rounded out the top-five.

Completing the top-10 were William Byron, Aric Almirola, Chase Elliott, Kyle Busch and Daniel Suarez.

Hamlin, who started on the pole, took command early and ran out to a more than 1-second lead after 20 laps.

On Lap 29, NASCAR threw a caution for debris on the frontstretch, which appeared to have come off the No. 15 Chevrolet of Ross Chastain.

All of the lead-lap cars elected to pit with Truex the first off pit road. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was penalized for speeding during his stop and had to restart from the rear of the field.

On the restart on Lap 35, Truex was followed by Blaney, Suarez, Bowyer and Hamlin, who had a slow stop.

Elliott, who started from the rear because of an engine change on Saturday, had made his way to 15th by Lap 45. Hamlin moved into the second spot on Lap 47.

With 80 laps remaining in the first stage, Truex held just over a 1-second lead on Hamlin with Blaney in third.

By Lap 70, Truex had stabilized his lead over Hamlin to about 1.2 seconds as Blaney ran third, Suarez fourth and Bowyer fifth.

Elliott entered the top-10 for the first time on Lap 78, passing Keselowski for the position.

After 100 laps, Truex’s lead over Hamlin had expanded to 2.2 seconds while Blaney remained close behind in third. Bowyer ran fourth and Suarez fifth.

With 10 laps to go, Truex’s lead over Hamlin grew to over 3.5 seconds with Blaney in third. Truex put playoff contender Kyle Larson a lap down on Lap 124.

Elliott moved into eighth on Lap 128 after getting around Kyle Busch.


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