William Byron Pulls Off Special Win for Hendrick Motorsports at Martinsville

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Martinsville Speedway, Martinsville, VA — April 7, 2024

In the eighth race of the 1984 season at Martinsville Speedway, driver Geoff Bodine recorded Hendrick Motorsports’ first Cup Series win, which kept owner Rick Hendrick from shutting down the fledgling team. Today’s race celebrates the 40th anniversary of that key victory, and this week, Hendrick Motorsports will run four ruby red paint schemes in the Cook Out 400, the eighth race of 2024.

Joe Gibbs Racing is celebrating a fabulous start to the 2024 season. Two of the four JGR drivers have already won this season: Christopher Bell (Phoenix) and Denny Hamlin (Bristol and last week at Richmond).

All four JGR drivers are inside the top six in the NASCAR Cup Series driver point standings, with Martin Truex Jr. holding the standings lead, followed by Hamlin in third, Ty Gibbs in fourth, and Bell in sixth—the only four-car team with all four drivers inside the top-10.

Also, through seven races this season, four drivers are tied for the most top-five finishes with five each, and three of them are Joe Gibbs Racing drivers – Bell, Gibbs, and Truex. The only other driver with five top-fives this season is Chris Buescher with RFK Racing.

Plus, through seven races this season, five drivers have led 100 laps or more, and four of them are from the Gibbs contingent – Truex (352 laps led), Hamlin (292), Gibbs (195), and Bell (119). The fifth is Hendrick Motorsports’ Kyle Larson, who has the most laps led this season with 368.

Joe Gibbs Racing has racked up 14 NASCAR Cup Series victories at Martinsville Speedway, third-most all-time behind Hendrick Motorsports (28 wins) and Petty Enterprises (19 wins). Christopher Bell is the most recent JGR driver to win at Martinsville with his victory in the 2022 Playoff race. Hamlin leads all active drivers this weekend in wins at Martinsville with five victories (2008, 2009, 2010 sweep, 2015).

Active Martinsville Winners

Wins

Seasons

Denny Hamlin

5

2015, 2010 sweep, 2009, 2008

Martin Truex Jr

3

2021, 2020, 2019

Brad Keselowski

2

2019, 2017

Kyle Busch

2

2017, 2016

Ryan Blaney

1

2023

Kyle Larson

1

2023

Christopher Bell

1

2022

William Byron

1

2022

Alex Bowman

1

2021

Chase Elliott

1

2020

Joey Logano

1

2018

Who is favored to win today? That’s anyone’s guess.

Today’s Race

Hendrick Motorsports’ Kyle Larson is the defending winner of the Martinsville Spring race, and he sits on the pole. Bubba Wallace starts in the front row beside Larson. Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney is the most recent winner at Martinsville Speedway, grabbing the win last Fall. He starts in ninth today.

The Cook Out 400 is 210.4 miles or 400 laps around the .526-mile speedway. Stages are divided into 80/100/220 laps. Martinsville is NASCAR’s oldest and shortest track.

Martinsville Speedway / NASCAR Photo

Stage One

Kyle Larson(5) drove off from the pole and dominated the early portion of the race. Bubba Wallace(23) maintained the second spot easily, with Chase Elliott(9) in third.

The biggest mover in the short first Stage was William Byron(24), who advanced from his 18th-place starting position to eighth by the Stage’s end.

Larson led every lap of Stage One and put 12 cars a lap down by the end of 80 laps.

Stage One Results

POS CAR DRIVER POINTS
1 5 Kyle Larson 10
2 23 Bubba Wallace 9
3 9 Chase Elliott 8
4 14 Chase Briscoe* 7
5 19 Martin Truex Jr. 6
6 22 Joey Logano* 5
7 11 Denny Hamlin 4
8 24 William Byron 3
9 4 Josh Berry* 2
10 8 Kyle Busch 1

*Ford Mustang Dark Horse Drivers

Stage Two

Joey Logano(22) was first off the pit road, taking just two tires on his stop. He lined up inside Larson for the restart and, with a push from Wallace, drove away. Larson spun his tires when the green flag dropped and fell to fourth as Denny Hamlin(11) took over the third spot.

Christopher Bell(20) lost the wheel lug nut on the right front of his car. He was fortunate to avoid a penalty as the tire became wedged under the fender, and it was carried to pit road where his crew could address the issue. NASCAR brought out the caution flag on Lap 112 for debris on the track. Most of the field stayed on the track, having just pitted at the end of Stage One.

On this restart, Wallace moved up to start next to Logano and was able to drop down in front of Hamlin. Larson restarted fourth with his three Hendrick teammates, Elliott, Alex Bowman(48), and Byron, running fifth to seventh.

Hendrick Motorsports / NASCAR Photo

Logano and Team Penske are celebrating their own significant milestone in today’s race. The event marks the 6,000th start by a Team Penske driver across all racing disciplines.

Taking just two ties did not present a problem for Logano, as he pulled away from Wallace. However, when Logano caught the rear of the field, his pursuers caught back up. Hamlin passed Wallace and began to work on the rear bumper of Logano.

Logano and Hamlin side-by-side at Martinsville / NASCAR Photo

With 11 laps to go in the Stage, Hamlin took the lead. With Logano’s tires going away, Wallace and Larson passed the #22 car as well.

Stage Two Results

POS CAR DRIVER POINTS
1 11 Denny Hamlin 10
2 23 Bubba Wallace 9
3 5 Kyle Larson 8
4 9 Chase Elliott 7
5 22 Joey Logano* 6
6 48 Alex Bowman 5
7 14 Chase Briscoe* 4
8 24 William Byron 3
9 1 Ross Chastain 2
10 4 Josh Berry* 1

*Ford Mustang Dark Horse Drivers

The Final Stage

Hamlin and Elliott were the first off pit road and led the pack to the green flag for the restart. Elliott got the better start and was able to pull down in front of Larson after completing a lap. Hamlin, Wallace, Larson, and Bowman make up the remainder of the top five.

Bell spun his car again on lap 202, and the caution flag was back out. None of the leaders took the opportunity to visit pit road. Elliott again drove away at the drop of the green flag with Hamlin still running second.

At the 250-lap point of the race, Elliott had caught the rear of the pack and began lapping cars. That allowed Hamlin to catch up and ultimately make a pass for the lead.

William Byron was the first of the leaders to head to pit road for green flag stops with 103 laps to go. Elliott passed Hamlin when they returned to the track. Byron and Larson also got around the former leader after their stops were complete.

Byron was the fastest after getting four fresh Goodyear tires and a full tank of gas. He moved past Elliott and will be the leader when all stops cycle through. With 80 laps to go, Daniel Suarez(99) and Martin Truex Jr(19) were the only cars still needing to come to the pits. They led, with Byron closing fast.

With 74 laps to go, Byron took the lead. Elliott followed Byron past Suarez, and Larson soon followed suit as Hendrick cars ran 1-2-3, and Bowman in seventh.

Byron continued to click off laps, maintaining a one to two-second lead over Elliott. However, just like last week, a caution threw a wrench into the works. John Hunter Nemechek(42) blew a right front tire, hit the wall, and caught fire. Forcing the race into NASCAR Overtime.

Only 13 cars remain on the lead lap, and who will pit and who will stay out may determine the race’s outcome.

Denny Hamlin was the only leader who chose to pit. He will restart in the 10th position. The lead lap cars move to the front and line up for the restart. Byron and Elliott in row one, Larson and Blaney in row two.

The Finish

Elliott and Byron fired off together. But it was Byron, whose tires stuck better, pulling away for the win. Larson passed Elliott on the last lap and Hendrick Motorsports held on for the 1-2-3 finish.

NASCAR Playoff Standings

RK DRIVER POINTS STATUS
1 William Byron 261 In Win(3)
2 Denny Hamlin 292 In Win(2)
3 Kyle Larson 309 In Win
4 Christopher Bell 221 In Win
5 Daniel Suarez 178 In Win
6 Martin Truex Jr. 295 +107
7 Ryan Blaney* 261 +73
8 Chase Elliott 258 +70
9 Ty Gibbs 254 +66
10 Ross Chastain 232 +44
11 Tyler Reddick 229 +41
12 Alex Bowman 227 +39
13 Bubba Wallace 216 +28
14 Chris Buescher* 207 +19
15 Joey Logano* 191 +3
16 Kyle Busch 189 +1
NASCAR Cup Series Cut Line
17 Chase Briscoe* 188 -1
18 Brad Keselowski* 176 -13
19 John Hunter Nemechek 157 -32
20 Erik Jones 154 -35
21 Austin Cindric* 147 -42
22 Michael McDowell* 146 -43
23 Josh Berry* 129 -60
24 Todd Gilliland* 126 -63
25 Carson Hocevar 125 -64

*Ford Mustang Dark Horse Drivers

Results of the Cook Out 400 at Martinsville Speedway

POS CAR DRIVER BEHIND LAPS
1 24 William Byron 415
2 5 Kyle Larson 0.550 415
3 9 Chase Elliott 0.790 415
4 23 Bubba Wallace 0.824 415
5 12 Ryan Blaney 1.023 415
6 22 Joey Logano 1.070 415
7 45 Tyler Reddick 1.320 415
8 48 Alex Bowman 1.433 415
9 41 Ryan Preece 1.449 415
10 14 Chase Briscoe 1.566 415
11 11 Denny Hamlin 1.798 415
12 43 Erik Jones 1.898 415
13 38 Todd Gilliland 2.298 415
14 1 Ross Chastain 8.601 415
15 17 Chris Buescher -1 414
16 8 Kyle Busch -1 414
17 77 Carson Hocevar -1 414
18 19 Martin Truex Jr. -1 414
19 54 Ty Gibbs -1 414
20 10 Noah Gragson -1 414
21 34 Michael McDowell -1 414
22 99 Daniel Suarez -1 414
23 2 Austin Cindric -1 414
24 6 Brad Keselowski -1 414
25 4 Josh Berry -2 413
26 15 Kaz Grala -2 413
27 16 Josh Williams -2 413
28 31 Daniel Hemric -2 413
29 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. -2 413
30 51 Justin Haley -2 413
31 71 Zane Smith -3 412
32 7 Corey LaJoie -3 412
33 21 Harrison Burton -3 412
34 3 Austin Dillon -3 412
35 20 Christopher Bell -4 411
36 42 John Hunter Nemechek -19 396
37 66 David Starr -104 311