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NASCAR Heads To Darlington Raceway For “Throwback” Weekend

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Sarah Crabill/Getty Images

DARLINGTON, SC (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – NASCAR rolls into the oldest and toughest race track, Darlington Raceway, for their annual “throwback” weekend.

Teams, drivers and sponsors embrace the weekend and roll out cars with special paint schemes that pay tribute to NASCAR’s past and heritage.

The fight for the NASCAR playoffs is down to two races.  Four drivers are fighting for the final two playoff positions.

Stewart Haas Racing’s (SHR) Daniel Suarez sits in the 16th and final playoff position after an 8th place finish in the series last race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Suarez’ SHR teammate Clint Bowyer is in 17th position, two points behind Suarez. Bowyer has only one top-10 finish in 13-starts at the track.  He finished 36th last year and 40th the year before.

“We know how important these next two races are,” said Bowyer.  “Everyone in the sport knows and everyone will be watching.  We know if we run like we are capable of running we will be fine.  Now we just have to go out and do it this weekend at Darlington and next weekend at Indianapolis.”

Three Rivers Karting

Seven-time Champion Jimmie Johnson, of Hendrick Motorsports, sits 26-points behind Suarez.  Johnson has 3-wins at the track “Too Tough To Tame”, sweeping both races in 2004 and picking up another win 2011.

Roush Fenway Racing’s Ryan Newman currently sits 15th in the playoff standings, only 14-points ahead of 17th place Bowyer.  Newman has not won at Darlington but has 13 top-10 finishes and seven top-5 finishes in 20-starts.

Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr lead the championship field with four wins each.

Hamlin comes into the race with momentum after winning at Bristol.  The driver of the No. 11 FedEx Toyota has 2-victories, 11 top-10 finishes in 13-starts at the track.  Hamlin’s average finish of 6.154 is best among active drivers.

“This FedEx team is on such a roll right now,” said Hamlin.  “We show up fast to the race track each and every weekend and I’m proud of what our entire team has been able to accomplish these past few weeks.”

Busch sits atop the series championship standings with a 39-point lead over 2nd place Joey Logano of Team Penske.  Busch has some momentum too, five top-10’s in his last 6-races.  Busch also has a series-best 20 top-10’s.  Busch has one victory at Darlington (2011) and has finished 11th or better in the last 9-races at Darlington.

The Bojangles Southern 500 takes place Sunday, September 1st at 6 p.m. ET.  Television coverage starts at 5:30 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) and can be heard on Motor Racing Network (MRN) affiliates and on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

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NASCAR

Martin Truex Jr Victorious At Martinsville Speedway

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James Gilbert/Getty Images

MARTINSVILLE, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Martin Truex Jr passed teammate Denny Hamlin on lap 485 and went on the win the rain-delayed NASCAR Cup Series Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway.  The victory was Truex’s second of 2021 and 29th of his Cup Series Career.

“He (Hamlin) started getting tight, our car was getting better and better,” said Truex of the late race pass. “We were able to take advantage of it. Really happy. For whatever reason our car really turned on when the lights went down. Always good when a plan comes together and it works out the way you hoped it would.”

Hendrick Motorsports Chase Elliott finished second, his seventh top-10 finish in 13-races at Martinsville and fourth top-10 of 2021.

“Really, really hard-fought second actually for us,” said Elliott. “We were not great, but had some, I guess our strong suit was kind of early on in the run, then really faded hard, too hard there in the latter part of a run. But we never got one of those super long runs, which is probably a good thing for us because we were struggling on that end. But, yeah, proud we could fight back.”

Hamlin settled for third after leading the most laps in the race (267).

Three Rivers Karting

“Had a really good car on the short run all day,” said Hamlin. “Got great restarts. Was fast for 25, 30 laps. Then it seemed like guys would start catching us. Unfortunately it was just too many laps there at the end that we couldn’t hold those guys off.”

Hendrick Motorsports teammates William Byron and Kyle Larson finished fourth and fifth respectively, giving HMS three cars in the top 5.

The race featured 18-lead changes among 7-drivers and was slowed by 15-caution flags for 105-laps.

The next NASCAR Cup Series race is April 18, 2020 at Richmond Raceway.

Martinsville Cup Results

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NASCAR

Josh Berry Gets First Career Xfinity Series Win At Martinsville Speedway

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James Gilbert/Getty Images

MARTINSVILLE, VA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Josh Berry passed Ty Gibbs for the lead on lap 223 and stayed out front for the final 27-laps to get his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series win in the rain-delayed Cook Out 250 at Martinsville Speedway.  The victory was the first career victory for Berry in 13 Xfinity Series starts.

“Man, I wanted to win so bad for these guys,” said Berry referring to his No. 8 JR Motorsports team. “They’re such a great group. I knew this would be a good opportunity to win. (Crew chief) Taylor (Moyer) called a perfect race. The car was good, and we just kept tweaking on it. The tires were pretty worn out there at the end. I was struggling a little bit with wheel-hop. This is just unbelievable.”

Berry’s JR Motorsports teammate Noah Gragson finished second and picked up a $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus, which eased the pain of being the runner-up.

“One hundred thousand dollars richer,” said Gragson. “Great 1-2 finish for our team at JR Motorsports. I really wanted to win there, but I was having to protect the bottom to keep the guys behind me from moving me out of the way. I couldn’t open up my arc the way I needed to and make speed.”

Three Rivers Karting

Daniel Hemric finished in third position followed by Gibbs, who faded to a fourth place finish.  Gibbs’ teammate Brandon Jones finished fifth. Jones was the leader Friday night when storms red-flagged the event after completing 91-laps.

The race featured 13-lead changes among 9-drivers.  The race was slowed by 12-caution flags for 75-laps.

The next race for the NASCAR Xfinity Series is April 24, 2021 at Talladega Superspeedway.

Martinsville Xfinity Results

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NASCAR

Mother Nature Wins At Martinsville Speedway

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Photo: James Gilbert/Getty Images

MARTINSVILLE, VA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Mother Nature is throwing a wrench into this weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series and Xfinity Series Schedules at Martinsville Virginia.

Friday’s Xfinity race is under a red flag following 92-laps of the scheduled 250-lap event after rain showers put an end to NASCAR’s attempt to get the event finished.  Joe Gibbs Racing’s Brandon Jones is scored as the leader of the race.

NASCAR has rescheduled the remainder of the event for Sunday at Noon ET.

Three Rivers Karting

The Cup Series race was red flagged on lap 43 because of showers.  JGR’s Denny Hamlin is scored as the leader.  Hamlin has led 38-laps.  Team Penske’s Joey Logano started on the pole position and led the other laps.

NASCAR will restart the event on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET.

Per NASCAR rules, an event is considered official after half of the scheduled distance has been completed.

Both races will be broadcast live on FS1, the Motor Racing Network (MRN) and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

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