NBC Sports continued its coverage of the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Sunday afternoon with an action-packed First Data 500 from Martinsville Speedway on NBCSN. Martin Truex Jr. won the first race of the Round of 8, his 7th of the season, and secured a spot in the Championship 4.
NBC Sports’ Rick Allen called the action alongside Daytona 500-winning crew chief Steve Letarte. 21-time Cup Series race winner Jeff Burton and racing legend and two-time Daytona 500-winner Dale Earnhardt Jr provided commentary from a second booth. Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast, Parker Kligerman, Rutledge Wood, and Dave Burns reported from pit road and the grandstands.
Krista Voda hosted Sunday’s pre-race coverage alongside analysts Kyle Petty and Dale Jarrett. Pre-race coverage on NBC included a Behind the Driver feature with Virginia native, Denny Hamlin, and his father, Dennis.
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Martinsville also included a post-race fracas involving drivers Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano.
The following are highlights from this afternoon’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race coverage on NBCSN:
Snider to Martin Truex Jr.: “Welcome to Miami!”
Martin Truex Jr. on the win: “To get a grandfather clock is pretty special.”
Letarte on Martinsville winner: “Two out of the last three years, the Martinsville winner has won the championship.”
Earnhardt Jr. on on-track aggression: “I expected what we’re going to see. There’s so much pressure at the short track, aggression. I wish we could bottle it up and sell it.”
Petty on post-race fight: “I’m going to call it a shoving match. I’m not going to call it a fight. Don’t put your hands on me.”
Letarte on post-race fight: “The action on the racetrack has always been heated, but now it seems to carry over – the frustration of the year, the pressure of the playoffs, what’s on the line. You heard the fans. The fans at Martinsville come here and expect this chaos-type atmosphere, and it delivers time and time again.”
Allen on post-race fight: “We know that when you come to Martinsville, it’s close quarters, tempers are high, but then you take the tempers and escalate it because of the playoffs. We know that a Championship 4 is on the line.”
Logano on post-race fight: “It ruined our day, our shot to win for sure…it’s frustrating there’s a lot of passion out there.”
Allen on post-race fight: “It’s close quarters. Tempers are high. But, tempers are escalated because of the playoffs.”
Hamlin on Logano’s response: “Like Joey does, he does a little push and runs away”
Allen on Martin Truex Jr. laps lead: “449 and counting! The most laps lead since 1992 when Kyle Petty put up 484 laps at Rockingham.”
Letarte on the big picture: “When you have a championship season, or at least have a shot at a championship in Miami, you’re looking back at races that people don’t remember, but you do as a crew chief or a driver. It’s not the ones you won, sometimes it’s the ones you salvage.”
Aric Almirola to Kyle Busch after crash in final stage: “We’ve got three more weeks, and I’m going to make it hell for him.”
Burton on the #47 car in the crash in the final stage: “He didn’t do anything wrong, that’s just Martinsville!”
Burton on pit crew changes: “You want the best pit crew you can get. But, you went to battle when the year started with your guys. You got here together, it’s a tough call.”
Ryan Blaney to Marty Snider on entire pit crew change: “I know those guys, I know their families, I know their kids. For me, I understand the business side of it, but the personal side of it is tough.”
Allen on Martin Truex Jr 312 laps in: “He won Stage 1 and Stage 2, he’s trying to sweep again. Martin Truex Jr looking for his third short-track win this season.”
Earnhardt Jr. 275 laps in: “At some point, you have to get aggressive. When does that switch happen? When will Harvick start to use that front bumper? Starting to run out of patience with the guys racing around him.”
Letarte on Kyle Larson staying out at the end of Stage 2: “A+ call by Chad Johnson. 9 points, 9 points. When we leave Phoenix in two weeks and the 42 car makes it on points, go back to Martinsville and the 9 points at the end of Stage 2.”
Allen on Stage 2 last lap: “Side by side through 3 and 4, Martin Truex Jr. fights for it and he’ll win stage 2!”
Burton on Bowyer and Blaney pass in Stage 2: “That’s just Martinsville racing.”
Todd Gordon (#22 crew chief) to Marty Snider “This is the second most important race of the year because you can punch your ticket to Miami.”
Burton on non-playoff drivers: “You don’t want to be the guy that takes away the opportunity to win a championship away from somebody. But, at the same time you want to win, it’s a very difficult position to be in.”
Hamlin on Martinsville: “You can’t make mistakes if you want to win this race.”
NBC Sports PR