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Friday, November 26, 2021

NASCAR at Martinsville results: Bowman wins Xfinity 500; Elliott, Hamlin, Truex advance to Championship 4

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Alex Bowman won at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, but Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott and Martin Truex Jr. won in the long run as those three drivers clinched the remaining spots in next week’s Championship 4 race at Phoenix Raceway.

Elliott clinched his spot in the Championship 4 by winning the second stage while Hamlin and Truex clinched theirs based on points from their finish in the race.

But the race wasn’t without drama, especially late. With fewer than 20 laps to go, Bowman spun out Hamlin to take a lead he would never relinquish. 

Hamlin dropped to second after the incident and eventually finished 24th on the day, but he had enough of a cushion in points that it didn’t affect his place in the standings. It did, however, affect him personally; Hamlin voiced his displeasure with Bowman after the race, calling him “a hack,” among other choice words.

Truex had a far less controversial race, though his car did sustain serious damage. Notably, the car overheated early on and a front tire rub developed after the car went hard into the wall late.

He was able overcome all that to finish three points above the playoff cut line.

Kyle Larson had already clinched a spot in the Championship 4 before Sunday. He will join Elliott, Hamlin and Truex in the Championship 4 at Phoenix on Nov. 7. Sunday’s results also set up a Joe Gibbs Racing-Hendrick Motorsports battle in the final race of the season as Elliott looks to defend his 2020 title.

Sporting News tracked live updates and highlights from the Xfinity 500 at Martinsville. 

MORE: Watch NASCAR races live with fuboTV (7-day free trial)

NASCAR at Martinsville live updates, highlights from Xfinity 500

(All times Eastern)

5:56 p.m.: Alex Bowman wins at Martinsville. Looks like Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. will take the final two spots in the Championship 4. Hamlin and Bowman go at it a bit after the white flag and tensions are clearly boiling over.

5:54 p.m.: After the wreck and spinout by Hamlin, he’s told by his camp to stay calm and that he can still get a spot in the Championship 4 with a nine point lead.

5:51 p.m.: Pandemonium at Martinsville as Denny Hamlin gets spun and goes into the wall. Bowman spins him out and retakes the lead.

5:47 p.m.: Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch are currently tied for the fourth spot but Busch holds the tiebreaker with 16 laps to go.

5:44 p.m.: Bowman and Hamlin trading the lead here off the restart. Busch is closing in in third and has a one-point lead for the final spot.

5:43 p.m.: The outlook with 25 to go here and two spots in the Championship 4 up for grabs.

5:40 p.m.: Truex goes hard into the wall and claims everyone is trying to hit him.

5:39 p.m.: Brad Keselowski has come storming back and is in second place behind Denny Hamlin.

5:35 p.m.: Another caution, this one on Ricky Stenhouse Jr. with 38 laps to go.

5:32 p.m.: Chase Elliott spins out and comes to pit road. Gets spun out by Keselowski.

5:29 p.m.: Truex with front tire rub and takes on major damage.

5:27 p.m.: Brad Keselowski is in must-win territory to advance to the Championship 4. He’s currently in fourth behind Chase Elliott with 50 laps to go.

5:25 p.m.: With 57 laps to go, here’s the leaderboard:

5:22 p.m.: Most of the lead lap drivers pit with Hamlin, Bowman, Elliott and Truex leading off of pit road.

5:20 p.m.: Another caution, the 11th of the day. Austin Dillon goes into the wall with 65 laps to go for the sixth place driver.

5:13 p.m.: 83 laps to go and Hamlin remains in the lead. Some discussion among Penske drivers about ability to pass others in the field.

5:03 p.m.: Denny Hamlin takes the lead for the first time today with around 110 laps to go. Truex in third followed by Dillon, Logano and Elliott.

4:58 p.m.: Most of the lead lap drivers pit, but Larson gets hit for speeding on pit road. It’s his second such penalty on the day.

4:57 p.m.: Tenth caution of the day, this one with 122 laps to go.

4:56 p.m.: Kyle Busch, currently in ninth, not happy with the state of affairs at the moment.

4:47 p.m.: Ninth caution flag of the day comes out with 143 laps to go. Martin Truex now trying to cool off his car, which he said he’s been trying to do all day.

4:46 p.m.: Martin Truex’s car is starting to overheat. Currently in fourth place but seems to be under control now.

4:45 p.m.: Important math with under 150 laps to go:

4:39 p.m.: Ryan Blaney’s car has taken massive damage today and just seems to be a magnet for it.

4:35 p.m.: Chase Elliott in the lead once again with 167 laps to go and counting. Bowman, Hamlin, Truex, Byron round out the top-5.

4:33 p.m.: Quin Houff is being held back and penalized five laps for intentionally spinning Billicki near a saftey vehicle. Claims NASCAR “doesn’t care about respect.”

4:26 p.m.: Hamlin trying to get out in front but isn’t itching to make a move and is playing it conservative.

4:25 p.m.: Here’s how things are looking on the restart out of the caution.

4:21 p.m.: The caution comes out as Josh Billicki spins out and stops on Turn 4 and lap 310. Austin Dillon gets the free pass. Now on the lead lap.

4:20 p.m.: Worry starting to creep in in the Kyle Busch camp.

4:12 p.m.: Chase Elliott remains in front. He’s led for 207 laps so far with 211 to go. Also already has his spot in the Championship 4 locked up.

4:03 p.m.: Kyle Busch now gets hit with a penalty for speeding off of pit road and goes to the rear.

3:57 p.m.: Chase Elliott wins Stage 2. He has now locked himself in to the Championship 4 thanks to the points from the stage win. Joins Kyle Larson in the championship.

3:46 p.m.: More on Elliott as he looks to clinch with a strong showing in Stage 2.

3:36 p.m.: Chase Elliott can clinch one of the three remaining Championship 4 spots with a strong performance in Stage 2.

3:32 p.m.: Another caution out as Austin Dillon has a right front tire issue.

3:28 p.m.: Kyle Busch seems to be struggling too.

3:23 p.m.: Blaney’s woes continue as his car seems to be in serious trouble.

3:10 p.m.: Kyle Larson, who led for much of the day, now goes to the back after speeding on pit road.

3:07 p.m.: Stage 1 over at Martinsville. Here’s how the race is shaking out.

2:58 p.m.: Obviously stage points are important, but no one can clinch after Stage 1.

2:52 p.m.: Blaney’s woes continue. He’s running in ninth right now and has taken serious damage a few times.

2:49 p.m.: Elliott has reclaimed the lead but it’s not all smooth sailing.

2:43 p.m.: A caution comes out as Ryan Newman spins on Turn 4. Nimble effort by the others to avoid him.

2:39 p.m.: Denny Hamlin gets hit with a penalty for speeding off pit road and drops to the back of the pack.

2:36 p.m.: Cars are starting to pit. Here’s what the race out of pit road looks like.

2:34 p.m.: The competition caution has arrived with Elliott, Larson, Truex, Keselowski and Kyle Busch rounding out the top-five.

2:32 p.m.: And just like that, Chase Elliott takes the lead from Larson with two laps to go until the competition caution.

2:30 p.m.: Larson’s led 51 of 52 laps so far with 8 laps to go before the competition caution.

2:25 pm.: Blaney struggling here early and reporting major problems with his car, specifically the steering. Been passed several times and made contact several times as well.

2:23 p.m.: 30 laps in and Larson has the lead followed by Truex, Elliott and Keselowski.

2:22 p.m.: Good news upcoming for Denny Hamlin potentially, with the competition caution approaching.

2:10 p.m.: Denny Hamlin, who’s won here five times, is starting in 37th place after failing inspection twice this morning. Hamlin has a 31 point lead for fourth.

2:04 p.m.: Engines are fired and things are about to get interesting.

2:01 p.m.: Action slated to get underway in about 10 minutes. Here’s a look at the points race heading in.

NASCAR start time today

  • Time:  2 p.m. ET (TV time)
  • TV channel: NBC (TSN5 in Canada)
  • Live stream: NBC Sports.com   | NBC Sports App | Peacock | fuboTV ( 7-day free trial )
  • Radio:  MRN

The green flag for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series playoff race on Martinsville Speedway’s 0.526-mile short track is scheduled to drop at 2:12 p.m. ET Sunday. The track has lights, so the race can finish after sunset if there is a delay.

Weather conditions should ensure an on-time start. The National Weather Service forecast for Ridgeway, Va. , where Martinsville Speedway is located, is for mostly sunny skies and a high temperature near 65 degrees. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph, however.

NASCAR playoff standings

The bubble drivers figure to produce the most drama Sunday. Positions 4 through 7 are separated by six points. Kyle Busch is in the No. 4 spot but he’s just one point ahead of Ryan Blaney, the first driver out at the moment. The live standings will be volatile.

Elliott (34 points) and Hamlin (32 points) come into the race with sizable leads over Blaney as they sit in second and third in the standings, respectively. 

Aside from the closeness of the standings, there’s another reason the four drivers below can have hope: A playoff driver who wins a race in the Round of 8 automatically qualifies for the Championship 4 race Nov. 7 at Phoenix Raceway. Problem is, only Larson has won a race thus far in the Round of 8.

Pos. Driver Points
1 x-Kyle Larson 4181
2 Chase Elliott 4107
3 Denny Hamlin 4105
4 Kyle Busch 4074
5 Ryan Blaney 4073
6 Martin Truex Jr. 4071
7 Brad Keselowski 4068
8 Joey Logano 4048

x-Advanced to Championship 4 race.

NASCAR starting lineup at Martinsville

Here is the complete starting lineup for Sunday’s playoff race at Martinsville Speedway, the Xfinity 500.

Start pos. Driver Car No. Team
1 P-Kyle Larson 5 Hendrick Motorsports
2 P-Chase Elliott 9 Hendrick Motorsports
3 P-Denny Hamlin 11 Joe Gibbs Racing
4 P-Martin Truex Jr. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing
5 P-Joey Logano 22 Team Penske
6 P-Brad Keselowski 2 Team Penske
7 P-Kyle Busch 18 Joe Gibbs Racing
8 P-Ryan Blaney 12 Team Penske
9 Kevin Harvick 4 Stewart-Haas Racing
10 Kurt Busch 1 Chip Ganassi Racing
11 William Byron 24 Hendrick Motorsports
12 Christopher Bell 20 Joe Gibbs Racing
13 Alex Bowman 48 Hendrick Motorsports
14 Austin Dillon 3 Richard Childress Racing
15 Chris Buescher 17 Roush Fenway Racing
16 Ross Chastain 42 Chip Ganassi Racing
17 Bubba Wallace 23 23XI Racing
18 Tyler Reddick 8 Richard Childress Racing
19 Michael McDowell 34 Front Row Motorsports
20 Daniel Suarez 99 TrackHouse Racing
21 Matt DiBenedetto 21 Wood Brothers Racing
22 Chase Briscoe 14 Stewart-Haas Racing
23 Aric Almirola 10 Stewart-Haas Racing
24 Cole Custer 41 Stewart-Haas Racing
25 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing
26 Ryan Preece 37 JTG Daugherty Racing
27 Ryan Newman 6 Roush Fenway Racing
28 Erik Jones 43 Richard Petty Motorsports
29 Corey LaJoie 7 Spire Motorsports
30 BJ McLeod 78 Live Fast Motorsports
31 Cody Ware 51 Petty Ware Racing
32 Anthony Alfredo 38 Front Row Motorsports
33 Josh Bilicki 52 Rick Ware Racing
34 Joey Gase 53 Rick Ware Racing
35 Justin Haley 77 Spire Motorsports
36 Quin Houff 00 StarCom Racing
37 Garrett Smithley 15 Rick Ware Racing
38 Timmy Hill 66 Motorsports Business Management





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