Joe Gibbs Racing
Race: Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500
Date/Time: April 10/7:30 p.m. ET
Distance: 500 laps/263 miles
Track Length: .526 miles
Track Shape: Oval
2020 Winner: Martin Truex Jr.
Press Kit: Download the 2021 FedEx Racing press materials at www.fedexracing.com/presskit, including bios for Denny Hamlin, Chris Gabehart and Joe Gibbs Racing leadership, program highlights and statistics.
Bristol Recap: The spectacle of the NASCAR Cup Series’ first dirt race in more than 50 years was postponed a day, after heavy weekend rains washed out Sunday’s track activity. The wait seemed to be worth it, as a limited-capacity crowd cheered Monday as Hamlin led the field to the green flag for the first of 253 laps. (The FedEx Racing driver inherited the lead after an engine change forced pole-sitter Kyle Larson to start from the rear.) Hamlin led the first lap before his loose-handling car dropped him back outside the top five. But, even with the unfamiliar racing conditions of the temporary dirt track, the FedEx team stayed competitive throughout the 127-mile event, racing near the front and picking up stage points. The #11 team was in second and battling leader Joey Logano when the yellow flag flew on Lap 246, forcing a green-white-checkered finish. During the two-lap dash to the finish, Hamlin tried to pass Logano on the outside, but lost traction and fell back to third, allowing Logano and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to cross the finish line ahead of him. The third-place result was Hamlin’s fourth consecutive top-five finish, padding his championship points lead to 58.
Martinsville Outlook: The series shakes the dirt off its feet from Bristol and heads to Martinsville Speedway, the paperclip-shaped short track that typically produces a lot of bumping and banging on track – and occasionally some anger among the drivers. Hamlin and the FedEx Racing team have five wins at the Ridgeway, Va., track. The Virginia native will look to win his sixth Martinsville grandfather clock trophy on Saturday under the lights.
Track: Martinsville Speedway
Laps Led: 1608
Avg. Start: 8.7
Avg. Finish: 9.9
Hamlin Conversation – Martinsville:
After the unfamiliarity of the Bristol dirt track, are you eager to get to the more familiar Martinsville?
“NASCAR and Bristol Motor Speedway did a great job with the dirt race, but, yes, I’m ready to get back onto some asphalt. Martinsville is always a place we take confidence to, even when we know we need to keep making improvements to our short track program.”
Is Martinsville a place where you can get your first win of 2021?
“Absolutely. We’re obviously on a strong run with all the top-fives we have, so we’re doing a lot of things right. It’s just a matter of time before we get ourselves up front at the checkers. In the meantime, we’re going to keep working on collecting stage points and growing our lead any way we can.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!