Blaney Wins Martinsville, Byron in on Points, Championship 4 now set for Cup Title battle at Phoenix
29 October 2023
By Bob Francis, Managing Editor
Go Full Throttle Racing News
MARTINSVILLE, VA — Ryan Blaney had the car and the strategy for victory Sunday in the Xfinity 500 NASCAR Playoff race at Martinsville Speedway. With the win, Blaney earns his way into the Championship 4 after passing Aric Almirola (SHR Ford) for the lead at lap 478. William Byron, who entered the day with a 30-point cushion, fought an ill handling race car and hot temperatures to hold on for a 13th place finish keeping him just 6 points above the cut line and earning the final spot in the Championship 4.
Last week, in our Go Full Throttle “Facts and Stats Friday” column we published the output our AI Predictive models for Martinsville — that Blaney and Byron would be the drivers who earn the two remaining spots in the Championship 4. The accuracy of our models continues to improve.
UPDATED GFT Driver Rankings following the Xfinity 500 at Martinsville — Larson remains the favorite
The Round of 8 came to an end with the elimination of Hamlin, Truex, Reddick, and Buescher. Hamlin and Truex started the day 17 points below the cut line. Hamlin scored Stage points and looked to be in control of his destiny as Byron struggled, but even with a 3rd place finish, Hamlin was out as Byron’s 30-point cushion to start the day gave the Hendrick Motorsports driver just enough that his 13th place finish earned him the spot.
Blaney Postrace comments:
“Well, I mean, felt like we put together really strong playoffs — especially the Round of 8… we had a good run in the whole Round of 8,” Blaney said. “Yeah, just overall really proud of the whole effort. RP (Team Penske owner Roger Penske) couldn’t be here, unfortunately, but I know he’s watching. This is awesome. Can’t wait to get to Phoenix next week.”
“I grew up in High Point, not too far from here,” Blaney said. “Really cool. Wanting to win here for a long time. Been super close for many years. Awesome to close it out.”
Check back for updates all week as Go Full Throttle will be at Media Day and covering all on track activity.