NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: Blu-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500
The Place: Martinsville Speedway
The Date: Saturday, April 10
The Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 7 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 263 miles (500 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 130), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 260), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 500)
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Next Race: Cook Out 250
The Place: Martinsville Speedway
The Date: Friday, April 9
The Time: 8 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 7 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 131.5 miles (250 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 60), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 120), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 250)
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Next Race: ToyotaCare 250
The Place: Richmond Raceway
The Date: Saturday, April 17
The Time: 1:30 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 12:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 187.5 miles (250 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 70), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 140), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 250)
NASCAR Cup Series
Short & Sweet: Martinsville Speedway welcomes the NASCAR Cup Series
The NASCAR Cup Series finds itself amid a short track swing on the 2021 season schedule, tasking the teams to find the best setups for the cars on three similar tracks in length (less than a mile) but for three vastly different competitive arenas. From last week’s history-making half-mile Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt track, to this weekend’s historic Martinsville Speedway that stretches 0.526-mile in length with asphalt paved straights and concrete corners, to next weekend’s 0.75-mile asphalt paved Richmond Raceway.
Martinsville Speedway is the longest continuously running track on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule, and the only currently active track that was a part of the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series season in 1949. Martinsville Speedway was originally a dirt track and the facility hosted 12 NASCAR Cup Series races on the then dirt surface before paving the track in the late summer months of 1955, between the track’s two Cup races of that season. In total, there have been 144 NASCAR Cup Series races at Martinsville Speedway, one in the inaugural year (1949) and two races per year since 1950. The first 500-lap event at Martinsville Speedway was in 1956 and the concrete corners were added atop asphalt in 1976.
The 144 NASCAR Cup Series races at Martinsville Speedway are the second-most series events run at a facility behind Daytona International Speedway’s 148 races. Martinsville’s 144 races have produced 61 different pole winners and 54 different race winners; nine of the Cup Series Martinsville Speedway winners are entered this weekend – Denny Hamlin (five wins), Brad Keselowski (two), Kurt Busch (two), Kyle Busch (two), Martin Truex Jr. (two), Chase Elliott (one), Joey Logano (one), Kevin Harvick (one) and Ryan Newman (one).
The first NASCAR Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway was on Sept. 25, 1949 and won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Red Byron driving an Oldsmobile for car owner Raymond Parks. NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty leads the NASCAR Cup Series in wins at Martinsville Speedway with 15 victories (1960, 1962, 1963, 1967 sweep, 1968, 1969 sweep, 1970, 1971, 1972 sweep, 1973, 1975, 1979) – the most any driver in the series has won at a single track; he also won 15 races at North Wilkesboro. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin leads the NASCAR Cup Series among active drivers in wins at Martinsville Speedway with five victories (2008, 2009, 2010 sweep, 2015).
This weekend’s Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 on Sunday, April 10, at 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90) will be 500 laps (263 miles) and broken up into the three stages. The first two stages are 130 laps each (68.38 miles each) and the final stage is 240 laps (126.24 miles). This weekend’s starting lineup was determined by Metric Qualifying. Last week’s winner Joey Logano will start on the pole at Martinsville and Logano will be joined by series standings leader Denny Hamlin on the front row.
Hot Streak: Trend of different winners to start the season could reach eight
Team Penske’s Joey Logano made history last weekend winning the first race on dirt in the NASCAR Cup Series in over 50 years and the first at Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt. In the process, Logano kept the streak of different winners to start the season alive making the 2021 season the fifth different year in the NASCAR Cup Series Modern Era (1972-2021) to start with seven different drivers in Victory Lane; joining 2014, 2003, 2000 and 1991.
Now the NASCAR Cup Series is heading to the historic Martinsville Speedway to see if the streak can make it to eight different winners. If the 2021 season sees an eighth different victor this weekend it will become just the third different season in the NASCAR Cup Series Modern Era (1972-Present) to start with eight different winners in the first eight races; joining 2003 and 2000.
|2021||1||Michael McDowell||Daytona||Sunday, February 14, 2021|
|2021||2||Christopher Bell||Daytona RC||Sunday, February 21, 2021|
|2021||3||William Byron||Homestead||Sunday, February 28, 2021|
|2021||4||Kyle Larson||Las Vegas||Sunday, March 7, 2021|
|2021||5||Martin Truex Jr||Phoenix||Sunday, March 14, 2021|
|2021||6||Ryan Blaney||Atlanta||Sunday, March 21, 2021|
|2021||7||Joey Logano||Bristol Dirt||Monday, March 29, 2021|
The Modern Era record of different winners to start a NASCAR Cup Series season is 10 set back in 2000. NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt Jr. snapped the different winners streak by winning his second race of the 2000 season at Richmond (Race No. 11).
|2000||1||Dale Jarrett||Daytona||Sunday, February 20, 2000|
|2000||2||Bobby Labonte||Rockingham||Sunday, February 27, 2000|
|2000||3||Jeff Burton||Las Vegas||Sunday, March 5, 2000|
|2000||4||Dale Earnhardt||Atlanta||Sunday, March 12, 2000|
|2000||5||Ward Burton||Darlington||Sunday, March 19, 2000|
|2000||6||Rusty Wallace||Bristol||Sunday, March 26, 2000|
|2000||7||Dale Earnhardt Jr||Texas||Sunday, April 2, 2000|
|2000||8||Mark Martin||Martinsville||Sunday, April 9, 2000|
|2000||9||Jeff Gordon||Talladega||Sunday, April 16, 2000|
|2000||10||Jeremy Mayfield||Auto Club||Sunday, April 30, 2000|
The next longest streak of different winners to start a season in the NASCAR Cup Series Modern Era belongs to 2003 with nine consecutive different winners. Kurt Busch snapped the streak of different winners by winning his second race of the 2003 season at Auto Club Speedway (Race No. 10).
|2003||1||Michael Waltrip||Daytona||Sunday, February 16, 2003|
|2003||2||Dale Jarrett||Rockingham||Sunday, February 23, 2003|
|2003||3||Matt Kenseth||Las Vegas||Sunday, March 2, 2003|
|2003||4||Bobby Labonte||Atlanta||Sunday, March 9, 2003|
|2003||5||Ricky Craven||Darlington||Sunday, March 16, 2003|
|2003||6||Kurt Busch||Bristol||Sunday, March 23, 2003|
|2003||7||Ryan Newman||Texas||Sunday, March 30, 2003|
|2003||8||Dale Earnhardt Jr||Talladega||Sunday, April 6, 2003|
|2003||9||Jeff Gordon||Martinsville||Sunday, April 13, 2003|
In the Modern Era (1972-2021), the record for the most different NASCAR Cup Series winners in a single season in its entirety is 19 set back in 2001. The series has also seen a total of 18 different winners (second-most) in a single season twice – in 2002 and 2011. Last season the series produced 13 different winners.
Short Track Showmen
Since the first NASCAR Cup Series season in 1949, short tracks – a track less than a mile in length – have graced the competitive schedule and been part of the fabric that makes up the sport.
NASCAR Hall of Famer, aptly nicknamed ‘The King,’ Richard Petty scored 138 of his record 200 NASCAR Cup Series victories on short tracks – the series-most short-track wins all-time. He also holds the record for the most wins at a single NASCAR Cup Series track posting 15 victories at this weekend’s venue – Martinsville Speedway.
Among the active drivers this weekend, 10 have posted wins on short tracks in the NASCAR Cup Series, led by Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch with 16 short-track Cup victories. Team Penske’s Joey Logano is the only driver to win at all four of the currently active short tracks on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule with his victory last weekend at Bristol Dirt.
|Short Track Winners||Total||Martinsville||Richmond||Bristol||Bristol Dirt|
|Martin Truex Jr||4||2||2||0||0|
Seven of the 10 active NASCAR Cup Series short track winners entered this weekend are looking for their first victory of 2021, and all seven are former winners at Martinsville – Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, and 2020 series champion (and most recent winner at Martinsville Speedway) Chase Elliott.
Additionally, Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick is the only NASCAR Cup Series driver to win in all three NASCAR national series at Martinsville Speedway (NCS: 2011, NXS: 2006, NCWTS: 2009, 2010, 2012) and the only active driver with an Xfinity win at the track. Five other drivers entered this weekend have won in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Martinsville Speedway – 23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace has two wins (2013, 2014), Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin (2011, 2012) and Kyle Busch (2016, 2019) each have two wins, Hendrick Motorsport’s Chase Elliott has one Truck win (2017) and Team Penske’s Joey Logano also has one win (2015).
Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. is the defending winner of this event last season at Martinsville Speedway; his fourth career short track win. In total, Truex has made 30 series starts at Martinsville posting one pole, two wins, seven top fives and 13 top 10s. He has also led 987 laps at the Paperclip shaped track just 13 shy of 1,000. Truex won the Martinsville spring race last season but finished 22nd in the Playoff race later in the year.
Virginia native Denny Hamlin returns to one of his favorite tracks – Martinsville
Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin returns to Martinsville Speedway, one of his most successful tracks, as the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings leader looking for his first win of the 2021 season. The Chesterfield, Virginia, native also leads the NASCAR Cup Series in victories at the historic Martinsville Speedway with five (2008, 2009, 2010 sweep, 2015) and has all the intentions of making it six in Saturday night’s Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 (April 10 at 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Hamlin’s consistency has been the key to his early success in the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings this season. In seven starts this year, he has collected six top-five finishes (series-most) and now sits 58 points ahead of second place Joey Logano.
Among active drivers, Hamlin is one of the most prolific short track competitors in the series. He is tied with Kurt Busch for the second-most short track Cup wins among the drivers entered this weekend with 10 victories each.
At Martinsville, Hamlin has made 30 series starts posting four poles, five wins, 15 top fives and 21 top 10s. But his Martinsville Speedway accolades don’t stop there. The NASCAR Cup Series pre-race Loop Data has him leading just about every category among active drivers heading into Saturday night – Average Finish of 9.933 (series-best), Average Running Position of 9.622 (series-best), Driver Rating of 105.0 (series-best), 984 Fastest Laps Run (series-best), 12,039 Laps in the Top 15 (80.1%) (second-most), 1,024 Quality Passes (series-most).
Hamlin finished 11th in last season’s Playoff race at Martinsville. He will start on the front row Saturday night.
Local Angle: Spotlighting team members from Virginia
It takes a lot of different people from all over the country to make a NASCAR event run with the precision we have all come to enjoy. This weekend, we turn the spotlight on team members from Virginia and a snapshot of their responsibilities.
|Team Member||Hometown||Organization||Car No.||At-Track Responsibilities|
|David Jones||Roanoke, VA||Starcom racing||00||Car Chief|
|Scott Woodfin||Colonial Heights, VA||Chip Ganassi Racing||1||Hauler Driver|
|Stephen Price||Lynchburg, VA||Chip Ganassi Racing||1||Rear Tire Changer|
|Ethan Tingler||Radford, VA||Richard Childress Racing||3||Rear Tire Changer|
|Cliff Daniels||Smithfield, VA||Hendrick Motorsports||5||Crew Chief|
|Chris Haymaker||Moneta, VA||Hendrick Motorsports||9||Front-End Mechanic|
|Tony Bove||Burlington, VA||Hendrick Motorsports||9||Engine Tuner|
|Joe White||Windsor, VA||Stewart-Haas Racing||14||Spotter|
|Keith Eads||Arlington, VA||Stewart-Haas Racing||14||Tire Specialist|
|DeWayne Zirkle (Ryder)||Roanoke, VA||Roush Fenway Racing||17||Hauler Driver/Front Tire Catcher|
|Jonathan Salmons||Bassett, VA||Roush Fenway racing||17||Engine Tuner|
|Bradley Donaghy||Orange, VA||Joe Gibbs Racing||19||Tire Carrier|
|Jeff Curtis||Fairfax Station, VA||Joe Gibbs Racing||19||Lead Engineer|
|Chris Jones||Smith Mountain Lake, VA||Joe Gibbs Racing||20||Front End Mechanic|
|Chris Sherwood||Portsmouth, VA||Joe Gibbs Racing||20||Car Chief|
|Bryan Goodman||Midlothian, VA||Front Row Motorsports||34||Engine Tuner|
|Bradley Sisson||King George, VA||Richard Petty Motorsports||43||Social Media Manager/Hospitality|
|James (J.P.) Kelley||Luray, VA||TrackHouse Racing||99||Gasman, Pit Department Foreman|
|Lamar Neal||Virginia Beach, VA||TrackHouse Racing||99||Tire Carrier|
Logano’s win on the Bristol Dirt adds his name to the 2021 list of Playoff & All-Star Race drivers
Team Penske’s Joey Logano became the seventh different winner this season and, in the process, added his name to the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs and the NASCAR All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway (June13).
The historic Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt victory marks the 10th consecutive season (2012-2021) Logano has won in the NASCAR Cup Series. Logano is now tied with his Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski for the third longest active streak of years with victories; behind Kyle Busch (16 years with victories, 2005-2020); Kevin Harvick (11 years with victories, 2010-2020) and Brad Keselowski (2011-2020).
Looking ahead to this weekend at Martinsville, Logano is preparing to keep the winning spoils flowing. He is the only active driver to win at all four of the current active short tracks on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule with his victory last weekend at Bristol Dirt. He also has wins at Martinsville (2018), Richmond (2014, 2017) and Bristol (2014, 2015).
In total, Logano has made 24 series starts at Martinsville posting five poles, one win, eight top fives and 12 top 10s. He finished fourth in the Martinsville spring race and third in Playoff race last season.
NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.
Blue-Emu, NASCAR & Martinsville Speedway Honor Frontline Healthcare Workers at Sovah Health – In advance of the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 NASCAR Cup Series race, Blue-Emu, NASCAR and Martinsville Speedway honored frontline healthcare workers at Sovah Health – Martinsville with a NASCAR hauler parade led by NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace and Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell.
“We are grateful to join with Blue-Emu to start our NASCAR spring race week by sharing our appreciation to the dedicated frontline healthcare workers at Sovah Health – Martinsville,” said Martinsville President Clay Campbell. “Sovah Health is a long-time valuable partner with the speedway, so we’re honored to recognize their sacrifices to care for our community during these unprecedented times.”
“I’m really excited to partner with our friends at Blue-Emu to honor all of the brave frontline healthcare workers at Sovah Health,” said seven-time Martinsville winner and NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace, “Martinsville Speedway has always been a special place for me, and Sovah Health is definitely a special part of the community.”
After Wallace and Campbell led the NASCAR hauler parade around the Sovah Health – Martinsville campus in Martinsville Speedway’s Ford Mustang Pace Car, they were joined by Blue-Emu Executive Vice President of Marketing Ben Blessing and Sovah Health – Martinsville Interim Chief Executive Officer Tory Shepherd for a ceremony to share gratitude to frontline healthcare workers.
“So, we are once again super proud to support the community involvement that has encompassed the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500,” said Ben Blessing, EVP of Marketing, Blue-Emu. “We find it very humbling to partner with the Sovah Health family which is made up of just an incredible group of people who continue to provide for those in need.”
In addition to the NASCAR hauler parade, Blue-Emu provided employees of the 220-bed facility located approximately 15 minutes away from the speedway with samples of Blue-Emu products. Sovah Health – Martinsville has served as the official healthcare provider for Martinsville Speedway for over three decades.
Martinsville Speedway & God’s Pit Crew Partner to Host Food Box Distribution Event This Week – As NASCAR returns to racing at Martinsville Speedway, God’s Pit Crew and Mercy Crossing are partnering with the track to distribute Farmers to Families food boxes on Wednesday, April 7 from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Jeb Burton, native of South Boston, Va., and driver of the No. 10 for Kaulig Racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, will join to support the event benefiting families in Henry County, Va.
“We are proud to partner with God’s Pit Crew and Mercy Crossing to support our residents in Martinsville and Henry County,” said Martinsville President Clay Campbell. “God’s Pit Crew is a Virginia organization that has had a positive impact in the lives of families in need across the nation since 1999. We look forward to welcoming one of our own, Virginia native and NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Jeb Burton, to join us to give back to our community.”
There will be 2,400 Farmers to Families food boxes distributed to residents of Martinsville and Henry County. The food boxes will contain 30 pounds of fresh produce, meats and dairy products. Recipients will also receive a case of Propel flavored water. Henry County residents will enter from on Industrial Park Road, turn right on Clover Road and follow signs to the food distribution sites.
“We are excited to partner with Martinsville Speedway and Jeb Burton to help provide our neighbors in Martinsville and Henry County with Farmers to Families food boxes,” said Randy Johnson, founder and president of God’s Pit Crew. “With COVID-19 impacting everyone in the past year, God’s Pit Crew is honored and blessed to be able to help provide families with this food assistance.”
God’s Pit Crew is a non-profit, faith-based crisis response team whose mission is to bring hope, healing, and restoration to hurting people in times of crisis. Since 1999, God’s Pit Crew has responded to over 140 disasters in 28 states and 13 countries and also distributes millions of food and drink products in their local region through their bi-weekly distribution program. So far in 2021, God’s Pit Crew has responded to five disasters, including the winter storms that impacted Virginia and Texas, severe flooding in Kentucky, and most recently the tornado outbreak that caused damage in Alabama and Georgia.
Brief history of the unique NASCAR trophy at Martinsville Speedway – There is nothing else out there like it and that’s what makes it so unique, the Martinsville Speedway trophy that is. The seven-foot-tall trophy is known as the ‘Grandfather Clock’ or the Ridgeway Clock. It was presented for the first time in 1964 to NASCAR Hall of Famer Fred Lorenzen. Back then, and for many years, the trophy was manufactured just down the road from the iconic short-track. Clockmakers Howard Miller then bought Ridgeway, who were the manufacturers of the clock, and started making them in their unit in Zeeland, Michigan.
Sunoco Rookie of the Year Update – Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe has taken command of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings over second place Front Row Motorsports driver Anthony Alfredo. Briscoe is 46 points ahead of Alfredo following the seventh race of the season at Bristol Dirt. Both drivers will be making their series track debut this weekend. Briscoe has some experience at Martinsville though, he made his NASCAR national series debut at the ‘Paperclip’ last season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series; he started fifth and finished seventh.
NASCAR Xfinity Series
NASCAR Xfinity Series takes on ‘The Paperclip’ under the lights
After a two-week break, the NASCAR Xfinity Series is back in action at Martinsville Speedway for the Cook Out 250 at 8 p.m. ET on Friday, April 9 on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
The 2020 season marked the first year the Xfinity Series raced at the .526-mile paved track since 2006. Kevin Harvick won the race in 2006 and prior to that, the Xfinity Series last raced at Martinsville in 1994. In total, there have been 35 races at the Virginia short track and Sam Ard won the inaugural race in 1982.
Joe Gibbs Racing’s Harrison Burton took home the victory last season at Martinsville after starting in the 10th position in his rookie year.
The race at Martinsville last season was the final Playoff race to secure the Championship 4. Burton won the race but was not in the Playoffs after being eliminated in the first round. Justin Allgaier was the highest-finishing Playoff driver, finishing second and Noah Gragson finished behind him in third.
The race was two hours, seven minutes and 56 seconds with an average speed of 61.673 mph. There were 10 cautions for 63 laps and 11 lead changes. There were 1,276 green flag passes (6.8 per green flag lap).
Allgaier’s 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series season didn’t start out the way he had hoped. In five races, the driver of the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet had only one top-10 finish. Allgaier had been involved in various on-track incidents and started the season at Daytona International Speedway by starting second and finishing 28th. But he turned that all around at Atlanta Motor Speedway two weeks ago by winning the race and taking home his first victory of the season all while punching his ticket to the Playoffs. The win marked the 15th victory of Allgaier’s career.
Friday night’s race will be 131.5 miles and 250 laps with Stage 1 ending on Lap 60 and Stage 2 ending on Lap 120. Harrison Burton will start on the pole for the Cook Out 250 and Allgaier will join him on the front row.
Burton Family fun at Martinsville
Joe Gibbs Racing’s Harrison Burton is the only driver entered into the NASCAR Xfinity Series race this weekend with a previous win at Martinsville, making him an obvious favorite. But if his cousin Jeb Burton were to win this weekend, he and his father Ward Burton would join Jeff and Harrison as the second Burton family father/son duo to win at the historic Martinsville Speedway.
Jeff Burton has two wins at Martinsville Speedway, one in the NASCAR Cup Series (1997) and one in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (1990). Harrison joined him in visiting Victory Lane at Martinsville last season in the Xfinity Playoff race a triumph that helped him secure the 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors.
Ward Burton has also won at Martinsville, much like his brother Jeff, in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Martinsville back in 1993.
Jeb Burton is having a great start to the 2021 season driving for Kaulig Racing, in six starts he has collected three top fives and five top 10s. He is ranked sixth in the series driver standings. Last season, he made series track debut at Martinsville driving for JR Motorsports; he started eighth and raced his way up to fourth. Jeb also has experience in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Martinsville, making eight starts on .526-mile track putting up a pole, two top fives and three top 10s.
Show Me The Money: Dash 4 Cash is back
The NASCAR Xfinity Series Dash 4 Cash program was designed to add elements of unpredictability and drama leading up to and during four designated races, increase on-track competition, engage fans and reward and recognize NASCAR Xfinity Series regular competitors. This weekend program makes its official start of 2021 with four drivers – Justin Allgaier, Harrison Burton, Noah Gragson and AJ Allmendinger – vying for the big $100,000 bonus payout.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series Dash 4 Cash will take place at four tracks in 2021 – Martinsville Speedway (April 9), Talladega Superspeedway (April 24), Darlington Raceway (May 8) and Dover International Speedway (May 15).
The March 20 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway was the initial qualifier for 2021 Dash 4 Cash program. The top four full-time finishers in the Atlanta race qualified for the first round of the Dash 4 Cash at Martinsville Speedway this weekend.
The first of the four Dash 4 Cash competitors to finish at Martinsville Speedway will win the $100,000 bonus.
The Dash 4 Cash winner and next three highest finishing full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers will then qualify for the next round of the Dash 4 Cash program at Talladega. That format will continue to Darlington and Dover.
NASCAR Xfinity Series Driver Playoff Outlook Following Atlanta-1:
|Rank||Driver||Points||Wins||Stage Wins||Playoff Pts||Pts From Cutoff|
|1||Austin Cindric||277||2||4||14||In On Wins|
With five different race winners so far in 2021 and four drivers already locked in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs, there are a lot of shakeups each week in the Playoff picture.
Justin Allgaier took the fourth Playoff spot with his win at Atlanta over the weekend, joining Austin Cindric, AJ Allmendinger and Myatt Snider on the list of winners going to the postseason.
Daniel Hemric has stayed consistent and keeps the highest Playoff spot without a win. He’s 97 points above the cutline and has two stage wins and two Playoff points.
In terms of biggest surprises in the Playoff outlook so far, two drivers are standing out. Jeremy Clements has been in the top 12 for most of the season and has shown speed all year. Clements is currently 31 points above the Playoff cutline. Clements finished 15th at Martinsville last season.
The same goes for Brandonbilt Motorsport’s driver Brandon Brown, who is having a career season and got a career-best finish of third at Phoenix Raceway. In total, Brown has made six starts this season posting one top-five and three top-10 finishes. He is currently eight points above the Playoff cutline. He finished 18th at Martinsville last season.
Sunoco Rookie of the Year update
With six races in the books in 2021, the NASCAR Xfinity Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings are still tight.
Joe Gibbs Racing’s Ty Gibbs is leading the charge in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings for the NASCAR Xfinity Series. He’s won two awards and has 88 points. He’s made two starts in 2021, including the first Xfinity Series start of his career where he walked away with a win at the Daytona Road Course. His second start was at Phoenix Raceway, where he finished runner-up after starting in 27th. He will be back in the No 54 Toyota this weekend.
Josh Berry is second in the rookie standings with 79 points and one award. Berry has made five starts for JR Motorsports this season and has a best finish of seventh at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Unfortunately, Berry has been the victim of some on-track incidents resulting in a 38th-place finish last week at Atlanta and a 36th-place finish at Phoenix the week prior. Of his five starts, he has three DNFs.
Ryan Vargas is third in the rookie standings with 60 points and three rookie awards this season. Vargas has run in all six races so far this year and has a best finish of 18th in the season-opener at Daytona.
Jordan Anderson and Sam Mayer, who both have declared for rookie points for 2021, have not yet made a start so they are currently fourth and fifth in the rookie standings.
NASCAR Xfinity Series Etc.
Manufacturer Update – Chevrolet is leading the manufacturers championship standings right now with three wins and 221 points. Myatt Snider, AJ Allmendinger and Justin Allgaier got Chevrolet their three wins. Ford is second in the manufacturer standings with two wins and 211 points. Ford’s two wins came from Austin Cindric in the season-opener and at Phoenix Raceway. Toyota is in third with one win and 214 points. Their win came from Ty Gibbs at the Daytona Road Course.
Double Duty This Weekend: Kaulig Racing’s Justin Haley will be pulling double duty this weekend competing in both the NASCAR Cup Series and the NASCAR Xfinity Series races this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. Haley made his series track debut last season at Martinsville, he started third and finished 12th. He also has made six starts at Martinsville in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series posting two top 10s.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Kyle Busch Motorsport’s No. 51 gets 51st victory
For the second week in a row, the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota visited Victory Lane, and the win marked the 51st for the truck number.
And the victory came in unusual fashion – without the team’s namesake behind the wheel.
Martin Truex Jr. made his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start since 2006 – and only the third of his career – nearly two weeks ago at Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt as a way to get some time on the dirt track before the NASCAR Cup Series race. And he made the most of the outing by winning the race in dominant fashion.
The week prior, Kyle Busch won at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the 50th victory for the No. 51.
Busch has recorded 40 of those 51 wins in that truck number, including the first win on May 19, 2006, at Charlotte Motor Speedway. In fact, he won the first 13 races that the No. 51 posted.
A total of eight different drivers have won in the No. 51. Erik Jones is second on that list in wins with four – the first for him coming at Phoenix in November of 2013. He then posted three wins in the truck in 2014 (Iowa, Las Vegas and Phoenix).
Aric Almirola recorded wins number 14 and 15 for the No. 51 at Dover and Michigan in 2010. Denny Hamlin then won at Martinsville in 2012.
Daniel Suarez won at Phoenix in 2016 for the only victory for that truck number that year. Greg Biffle won with the No. 51 at Texas in 2019, while Brandon Jones won at Pocono last year.
Since the number was first run in the series in 2006, there have only been three seasons in which the truck has not posted multiple wins – 2006, 2012 and 2016. The nine wins by the No. 51 in 2014 were the most in a year for the truck.
Preparing for round two of the return to Richmond
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be sitting out the Martinsville spring weekend and will gear up for the ToyotaCare 250 on Saturday, April 17, at Richmond Raceway (1:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
The Camping World Truck Series first ran at Richmond from 1995-2005, but then took a hiatus from the track until returning in 2020. Grant Enfinger won that return trip, which was the final race in the regular season for the series last year.
His ThorSport Racing teammates Matt Crafton and Ben Rhodes finished second and third, respectively, in the race. Brett Moffitt and Tyler Ankrum completed the top five.
This year the Richmond race will be the sixth race of the season.
In 2020, the sixth race of the season was at Pocono, which was won by Brandon Jones, in the earlier mentioned No. 51 truck for Kyle Busch Motorsports.
Hocevar maintains Sunoco Rookie of the Year lead
After taking a one-point lead in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year points standings following Atlanta, Carson Hocevar finished 21st on the Bristol dirt to up his advantage to 14 points over Chandler Smith coming out of Thunder Valley. Smith finished 34th after being caught in a multi-truck incident.
The remainder of the standings stayed the same following Bristol, too. Chase Purdy was the highest-finishing rookie at Bristol, finishing 18th. Hailie Deegan was 19th.
Hocevar and Smith both raced the Camping World Truck Series race at Richmond last year, with Smith finishing 12th and Hocevar was 22nd.
|Sunoco Rookie of the Year|
— NASCAR —