Race Report- Martinsville: Byron wins at the Paperclip, Only driver with 2 wins
MARTINSVILE, VA — APRIL 9, 2022
By Bob Francis, Managing Editor
Go Full Throttle Racing News
William Byron led 212 of the 403 laps, and most importantly the final lap, to win the BLUE-EMU MAXIMUM PAIN RELIEF 400 Saturday night at Martinsville Speedway. This was after winning the NASCAR Truck Series race on Thursday night, giving “Liberty Bill” 2 Martinsville Grandfather clocks and the first Cup Series driver with 2 wins this season.
Teammate and pole winner Chase Elliott led the first 185 laps, which led to an amazing record for Hendrick Motorsports who surpassed 10,000 laps led at Martinsville, the first Cup organization to hit that prodigious number at a single track.
At the end of the two-lap overtime, Byron crossed the finish line 0.303 seconds ahead of Team Penske driver Joey Logano, who got to the bumper of Byron‘s № 24 Chevrolet in the final corner, but couldn’t make the pass for the win. Saturday night‘s Cup victory was Byron’s first at Martinsville and the fourth of his career.
“When that last caution came out (for Todd Gilliland‘s brush with the Turn 4 wall on Lap 393), I thought everyone behind us would pit,” Byron said. “Luckily, we stayed out — we were aggressive. We felt like we could refire on the tires and be OK.
“You‘ve got one of the most aggressive guys behind you with Logano. I chattered the tires in (Turns) 3 and 4 (on the white-flag lap) and left the bottom open, but I was able to kind of block my exit to get a good drive off (the corner).
“This one‘s for my mom. This same weekend last year, she had kind of a mini-stroke and was diagnosed with brain cancer. It means a lot to have her here, and it’s been a crazy year, but she’s doing great, and thanks, everybody, for the support. I kind of felt like she was riding in there with me. It’s cool to have her here, and I’m definitely going to enjoy this one.”
Logano’s strong second-place run was a flashback to his win at the Clash (non-points paying, preseason, exhibition).
“That final restart there, had a front row,” Logano said. “That’s what you can ask for. Got cleared to second, and Willy kind of messed up off of (Turn) 4 and let me get to him, and he did a really good job of brake-checking… He did what he was supposed to do, and kind of got me all stuffed up behind him, and I couldn’t accelerate off the corner and be as close as I needed to be down into 3 to execute the ol’ bump-and-run.”
“Couldn’t get quite to him, but his corner entry was really strong, too, which I think allowed him to get in there pretty strong. Overall, the Shell-Pennzoil Mustang had a solid run. Just hate being that close to winning and not making it happen. But big points today, and it just stings. Second just sucks sometimes, that’s all.”
Austin Dillon had a strong night finishing P3, with Ryan Blaney Pr4 and Ross Chastain P5. Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Aric Almirola, Chase Briscoe and Elliott completed the top 10. Chase Elliott now leads the NASCAR Cup Series standings, but in our Go Full Throttle AI Driver Rankins, the top 5 are:
P1 William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
P2 Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
P3 Ryan Blaney, Team Penske Ford
P4 Ross Chastian, Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet
P5 Alex Bowman, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Next Stop Bristol DIRT!
Short track racing continues as NASCAR heads West to the Virginia-Tennessee state line to Thunder Valley Bristol Motor Speedway for the Food City Dirt Race Sunday night April 17.
Check back this week for the updated #GFTaiDriverRankings and our predictions for Martinsville. Follow all the action on our website https://gofullthrottle.net/ and real-time updates on our Twitter feed