Race Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-130):
● Kevin Harvick started 22nd and finished 12th.
● Harvick said on lap 28 that his No. 4 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang was a little loose everywhere.
● Pitted for four tires and fuel while under caution on lap 30. No other changes were made.
● Was 12th for lap-34 restart.
● At end of stage, Harvick commented: “Loose in if I drive in too hard. Not enough drive on exit.”
● Crew chief Rodney Childers called for four tires, fuel and a right-rear wedge adjustment during the pit stop at the end of the stage.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 131-260):
● Harvick started 11th and finished 16th.
● The driver of the No. 4 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang keyed his mic on lap 178 and yelled, “Sideways.” Dropped to 15th.
● Pitted on lap 180 while under caution for four tires and fuel. Reversed right-rear wedge adjustment from previous stop and lowered track bar.
● Was 14th for lap-184 restart.
● Harvick said on lap 238 while running 17th: “Loose when I let off the brake. No grip on throttle.”
● Caution on lap 253 allowed Harvick to pit on the following lap, where wholesale changes were made to the Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang, including pulling a spring rubber out of the right rear, raising the track bar and adding two rounds of left-rear wedge, along with four fresh tires and fuel.
● Was 17th for lap-257 restart, but picked up a position to finish the stage in 16th.
● Stayed out at the conclusion of the stage.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 261-500):
● Harvick started 15th and finished seventh.
● Keyed mic on lap 325 and said: “OK on entry now. Just too tight in the middle.” Climbed to 12th.
● Pitted on lap 349 while under cation for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment.
● Was 10th for lap-352 restart, his first time among the top-10.
● Escaped multicar accident off turn four on lap 363 that allowed Harvick to rise to seventh.
● Was seventh for lap-372 restart, a position Harvick held through the remainder of the race, despite four more restarts.
● Harvick earned his 23rd top-10 of the season and his 19th top-10 in 37 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Martinsville.
● This is Harvick’s fifth consecutive top-10 at Martinsville. He finished sixth in the series’ last visit to the track in March.
● This is Harvick’s second straight top-10 and his eighth top-10 in the last nine races. He finished ninth in the series’ previous race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City.
● Since joining SHR in 2014, Harvick has only one finish outside the top-20 at Martinsville. He has scored eight top-10s in 12 Martinsville races with the No. 4 team.
● Martin Truex Jr., won the First Data 500 to score his 26th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his series-leading seventh of the season and his first at Martinsville. His margin of victory over second-place William Byron was .373 of a second.
● There were 11 caution periods for a total of 69 laps.
● Only 19 of the 38 drivers in the First Data 500 finished on the lead lap.
● Ford took five of the top-10 finishing positions in the First Data 500.
Playoff Standing (with two races to go before Championship 4):
1. Martin Truex Jr. (4,102 points) 1 win
2. Denny Hamlin (4,082 points, +24)
3. Kyle Busch (4,075 points, +17)
4. Joey Logano (4,072 points, +14)
5. Kevin Harvick (4,058 points, -14)
6. Ryan Blaney (4,057 points, -15)
7. Kyle Larson (4,048 points, -24)
8. Chase Elliott (4,028 points, -44)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“We got our car a lot better in the second half. We made some major adjustments when we got to the end of the second stage and made our car a lot better. We got a decent finish to minimize the damage.”
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the AAA Texas 500 on Sunday, Nov. 3 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. It is the eighth race of the 10-race playoffs and the second race in the Round of 8. It starts at 3 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
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