Yesterday's NASCAR race was at the half-mile Martinsville track and the boys really did mix it up. There was a lot of talk by drivers about tire wear before the race. However, that didn't seem to be a real issue during the race itself. As is typical at these short tracks, you need to be out front to dominate. Pole-sitter Jamie McMurray (#1) kept the lead for the first 30 laps or so, when Ryan Newman (#39) briefly took over before Denny Hamlin (#11) blew by them both on Lap 35. The Hendricks boys (#5, #24, #48 & #88) seemed to be doing quite well, with all four cars in the top 10 at one point.
On Lap 220, Martin Truex Jr's (#56) throttle get stuck. He is unable to slow down in a turn and ends up ramming into the safer barrier wall at full speed, taking Kasey Kahne (#4) out with him. After Martin climbs out of his car, he runs over to make sure Kasey is OK (true sportsmanship). The race is red flagged (completely stopped) while the fluid and debris from the wreck are cleaned up. A later interview with Martin shows him giving thanks for NASCAR implementing the safer barrier and other safety measures since the 2001 death of Dale Earnhardt. He said that, without those safety measures in place, he most surely would have died after that wreck. I second that!
Jimmie Johnson (#48), Clint Bowyer (#33), Jeff Gordon (#24) and Kyle Busch (#18) all take their turns leading the pack for a while. In a move reminiscent of his father (and one done earlier by Kyle Busch himself), Dale Earnhardt Jr (#88) bumps Kyle in a turn and takes the lead. Of course, the crowd goes wild. Meanwhile, while Jr and Busch are busy battling it out, Kevin Harvick's #29 steadily heads up the field and passes them both by with four laps to go, eventually taking the checkered flag. And that, my friends, is why he is called "The Closer".
Congratulations to Kevin Harvick! The next race will be under the lights at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday, April 9th. Race coverage begins at 7:30pm EST on FOX.
Results of the Goody's Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2011:
1. Kevin Harvick (#29)
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr (#88)
3. Kyle Busch (#18)
4. Juan Pablo Montoya (#42)
5. Jeff Gordon (#24)
Points standing as of the 6th race of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup series:
1. Kyle Busch (#18) - 219
2. Carl Edwards (#99) - 214
3. Jimmie Johnson (#48) - 207
4. Kurt Busch (#22) - 205
5. Kevin Harvick (#29) - 204
6. Ryan Newman (#39) - 203
7. Juan Pablo Montoya (#42) - 201
8. Dale Earnhardt Jr (#88) - 199
9. Matt Kenseth (#17) - 195
10. Mark Martin (#5) - 181
11. Tony Stewart (#14) - 180
12. Jeff Gordon (#24) - 170
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