Larson Wins Martinsville For Second Victory Of Season

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, April 16 2023

Kyle Larson was top driver in Martinsville Sunday.(File photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)


Kyle Larson took the lead on Lap 371 of Sunday’s 400-lap NASCAR Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway and sped away to his second win of the season.

The 2021 Cup champion led just the one time. He that lead by moving past then-leader Joey Logano of Team Penske.

The Hendrick Motorsports driver won for the 21st time in his career.

Logano, the defending series champ, finished second – 4.1 seconds behind Larson.

“Solid recovery for what the start of the race looked like,” Logano said. “We went down a lap twice, two times. At one point in the race I would have been just happy to finish on a lead lap.”

It was Larson’s first win at the Martinsville short track.

“I had never ever would have thought that I would win here at Martinsville,” he said. “This place has been so tough on me. Just does not suit my driving style at all.

“I like to charge the center. I like to roll momentum, and that’s just not what this place is like.”

Martin Truex, Jr. was third.

Denny Hamlin, Truex’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, finished fourth. It was his first top-five finish of the season.

Chase Briscoe of Stewart-Haas Racing was fifth.

Larson’s got his first victory of the season two weeks ago at Richmond. He started 19th Sunday in Martinsville.

“I tried holding off Larson as long as I could,” Logano said of losing the lead, “but overall there’s days when you are mad about second. Today is not one of those. Today is when you are pretty stoked that you finished a little better than I thought we were going to.”

Ryan Preece started from the pole and led a race-best 136 laps.

Chase Elliott, back in his car since breaking his leg while snowboarding in Colorado in early March, finished 10th.

“It was pretty good, honestly, about what I expected, so that was a good thing,’’ Elliott said of his leg after the long day. “Just it was warm [temperatures] and I’ve been sitting on the couch for six weeks so that probably hurt me more than anything.

“We struggled every run but the last one and finally got it going there at the end and I was able to start making some passes and do things I didn’t really think I was going to be capable of doing. So, I was pleasantly surprised by that and got a top 10 of our first day back so that was definitely nothing to be too bummed out about.’’

Elliott appreciated the welcome he received at the race track all weekend.

“The people, honestly, from my peers to my teammates just the competitive nature of being here and wanting to be better,’’ Elliott said of what he missed most being away from the track during his recovery.

“Really nice to be back and I appreciate the warm welcome this weekend by everybody. I appreciate that and it didn’t go unnoticed.”


NASCAR Cup Series Race

Martinsville Speedway

Martinsville, Virginia

Sunday, April 16, 2023

  1. (19)  Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 400.
  2. (15)  Joey Logano, Ford, 400.
  3. (5)  Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 400.
  4. (11)  Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 400.
  5. (4)  Chase Briscoe, Ford, 400.
  6. (3)  Aric Almirola, Ford, 400.
  7. (31)  Ryan Blaney, Ford, 400.
  8. (16)  Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet, 400.
  9. (9)  Bubba Wallace, Toyota, 400.
  10. (24)  Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 400.
  11. (23)  Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 400.
  12. (18)  Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 400.
  13. (34)  Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 400.
  14. (10)  Chris Buescher, Ford, 400.
  15. (1)  Ryan Preece, Ford, 400.
  16. (22)  Christopher Bell, Toyota, 400.
  17. (2)  Daniel Suarez, Chevrolet, 400.
  18. (12)  Ty Gibbs #, Toyota, 400.
  19. (20)  Michael McDowell, Ford, 400.
  20. (7)  Kevin Harvick, Ford, 400.
  21. (17)  Kyle Busch, Chevrolet, 400.
  22. (6)  Tyler Reddick, Toyota, 400.
  23. (8)  William Byron, Chevrolet, 400.
  24. (21)  Brad Keselowski, Ford, 400.
  25. (13)  Todd Gilliland, Ford, 399.
  26. (27)  Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet, 399.
  27. (14)  AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 399.
  28. (26)  Justin Haley, Chevrolet, 398.
  29. (32)  Harrison Burton, Ford, 398.
  30. (29)  Noah Gragson #, Chevrolet, 398.
  31. (28)  Erik Jones, Chevrolet, 398.
  32. (35)  Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 397.
  33. (25)  Austin Cindric, Ford, 397.
  34. (33)  Zane Smith(i), Ford, 395.
  35. (30)  Anthony Alfredo(i), Chevrolet, 390.
  36. (36)  JJ Yeley(i), Ford, Accident, 337.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  74.005 mph.

Time of Race:  2 Hrs, 50 Mins, 35 Secs. Margin of Victory:  4.142 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  5 for 50 laps.

Lead Changes:  10 among 9 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   R. Preece 1-135;R. Chastain 136-166;K. Harvick 167-185;C. Briscoe 186-256;D. Hamlin 257-292;B. Keselowski 293-299;D. Suarez 300-306;C. Briscoe 307-344;K. Harvick 345;J. Logano 346-370;K. Larson 371-400.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Ryan Preece 1 time for 135 laps; Chase Briscoe 2 times for 109 laps; Denny Hamlin 1 time for 36 laps; Ross Chastain 1 time for 31 laps; Kyle Larson 1 time for 30 laps; Joey Logano 1 time for 25 laps; Kevin Harvick 2 times for 20 laps; Brad Keselowski 1 time for 7 laps; Daniel Suarez 1 time for 7 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 41,10,45,99,14,4,23,11,5,24

Stage #2 Top Ten: 4,14,11,45,6,1,38,99,10,5

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, April 16 2023
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