RIDGEWAY – What a difference a year makes for Martin Truex Jr. at Martinsville Speedway.
After getting bumped out of the lead on the final lap in last year’s First Data 500, Truex didn’t leave anything to chance in this year’s event.
Truex Jr. took the lead on Lap 31 and went on to lead 464 laps of the race to clinch a spot in the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
After being upset after the finish last year, the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion was all smiles in Victory Lane.
“I’m just really happy about it, obviously,” Truex said. “I’ve been trying to work on getting a Martinsville win for a long time. It's a tough track. It's one that, you know, everybody I think wants to win at, the history here, and it's such a big part of NASCAR. Really proud of everybody on our team for what they did and the car they brought, the pit stops today were incredible and the guys did a great job. So just all around a great day. To lead that many laps is pretty incredible here.”
William Byron picked up his second runner-up finish of the season behind Truex with Brad Keselowski third. Denny Hamlin and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top five.
Truex, who has scored a series-high seven wins this season after taking the First Data 500 honor, was obviously excited about bring home his first Grandfather Clock as a race winner at Martinsville Speedway.
He also made everyone aware very quickly about what he will do with it this week.
“(The clock will be) in my living room,” Truex said. “You'll be able to see it as soon as you walk in the front door. I've actually looked at that spot before and thought, that grandfather clock would look good right there.”
Kurt Busch was sixth with Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Kyle Larson and Ryan Newman rounding out the top 10.
The race was slowed 11 times by caution for 69 laps with three drivers leading the First Data 500.