Martinsville, “The Paperclip,” is always an exciting race, but this past weekend proved to be one of the most exciting. From a first-time winner, to torrential downpours, to the “Big One,” to fires, there was lots to talk about.
The Xfinity Series took to the track on Friday night, hoping to outrun the rain. There was an urgency from the beginning, causing a multitude of cautions with the first one coming just six laps in. The cars finally made it to the end of Stage 1 with Noah Gragson taking the green checkered, but the cars could not outrun the rain. Just 29 laps into Stage 2, Nascar officials threw the Red Flag for rain and the race would not resume until Sunday at noon.
When the cars took the track on Sunday, there was no rubber laid down, which made for some loose cars. This caused another multitude of cautions, with there being a total of 13 before the race came to an end. Daniel Hemric won Stage 2 and Josh Berry took the final checkered flag. This was Berry’s first win in the Xfinity Series, and he did it with domination. Berry led 95 of the 250 laps and was able to hold off Gragson in the final laps.
The Cup Series took to the track on Saturday night and didn’t have any more luck against Mother Nature. Just 42 laps in, a caution was thrown for Cody Ware and James Davison, and then the rain came. The Red Flag was thrown, and the race was delayed until Sunday at 4:00 pm. When the race resumed, there seemed to be a sense of urgency, which started more cautions flying, with the first one coming just 9 laps after the restart. There would be a total of 15 before the race was over, mainly for cars spinning, but unlike a typical Martinsville race, the “Big One” happened.
With 114 laps to go, a 15-car pileup caused the race to be Red Flagged. Those involved included Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski, James Davison, Chris Buescher, Kyle Busch, Matt DiBenedetto, Michael McDowelll, Ryan Preece, Anthony Alfredo, Cole Custer, Erik Jones, Alex Bowman, Justin Haley, and Daniel Suarez. The crash ended the day for Keselowski, Bowman, Haley, Preece, and Suarez, with both Preece and Suarez catching fire.
Martin Truex took the final checkered flag, making him the first two-time winner this season. Ryan Blaney won both Stage 1 and 2.