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Hendrick Motorsports Sweeps At Martinsville As Byron Leads The Charge

(Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)

Greeting race fans, I am back in the saddle after a much-needed break.

While I was away, Denny Hamlin and William Byron both won twice putting them into the lead as far as wins even though Kyle Larson is leading the points with a win and four top five finishes. While he also had one DNF, he has four stage wins and has led a whopping 454 laps this season. Byron may have three wins, but he has done that leading only 149 laps.

Martinsville was a pretty tame race as far as Martinsville races go. Lots of green flag racing and passing was at a premium. When isn’t it with the new race package?

 

Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin won Stages 1 and 2 with Bubba Wallace finishing second in both. Byron started 18th but an aggressive pit call kept him and his Hendrick teammates allowed Byron to stay in front of then leader Denny Hamlin.

 

Martinsville holds a lot of memories for Hendrick Motorsports so sweeping the race 1-2-3 capped off an emotional day. Byron was followed by teammates Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott with 23Xi driver Bubba Wallace wrapping up his race in fourth.

 

Ryan Blaney struggled early on but managed to cap off his race in a satisfying fifth.  The Top 10 was rounded out with Joey Logano (P6) after leading 84 laps, Tyler Reddick (P7), Alex Bowman (P8), Ryan Preece (P9) and Chase Briscoe (P10).

 

Denny Hamlin fell to 11th and Martin Truex, Jr. finished a disappointing 18th after losing on the restart last week to Hamlin. Only 14 cars ended up finishing on the lead lap. Of the rest of the field, only Daniel Suarez (P22) led 13 laps and Austin Cindric (P23) led 6.

 

After a series of short track races, the Cup teams head to Texas Motor Speedway ahead of Talladega and Dover. Talladega is its own beast, but Texas should help teams get a feel for where their speed package is. They haven’t been on a big track since Las Vegas at the beginning of March. Kyle Larson dominated that race so look out for Team Hendrick once again, although Larson was the sole Hendrick driver in the Top 5 and Byron was 10th after starting 4th. Toyota placed four drivers in the Top 10 with Hamlin leading the most laps at 16. Tyler Reddick ran 2nd to Larson the entire race so if he can figure out how to get a little more speed, he could be a threat to win at Vegas.

 

And in off track news, Denny Hamlin has sure been stepping up his trach talking game now that Kevin Harvick has retired. Maybe Hamlin feels like the senior driver now and has decided to be more vocal but between his X account and his podcast he has stepped up his game! Last week he got into an online feud with Marcus Smith over the Richmond track, and it got personal with Smith calling him an “almost NASCAR champion” and Hamlin questioning how Smith spent money on a track repave.

 

Cooler heads have since prevailed with some “apologies”, but I don’t expect Hamlin to change his stripes any time soon. Ya gotta love it.

 

Keep the shiny side up, folks.

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