NASCAR Cup Series Recap: Martin Truex Jr. Wins Goodyear 400

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The NASCAR Cup Series paid homage to the past this weekend at Darlington Raceway with throwback paint schemes. The Goodyear 400 on Mother’s Day stood as the 12th race of the 2021 season. The teams had their hands full all day with the ‘Lady in Black’. One driver had no problem all day and led 248 laps on his way to winning the race. The Goodyear 400 marked the third victory of the year for Martin Truex Jr.

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Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

NASCAR Cup Series Recap | Martin Truex Jr. Wins at Darlington

Goodyear 400 Stage 1

Brad Keselowski led the field to the green and the race was underway. Kevin Harvick got to the front early on in the race. On the next lap, his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Aric Almirola would pound the front end of his car into the wall. The wreck ended his day just seven laps in.


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Kyle Busch took advantage of the ensuing restart and took the lead. Five laps later he spun around on the front stretch. Martin Truex Jr. would take over the lead. Ross Chastain tried to run the entire first stage on just one pit stop. It almost worked, but he got lapped and passed by other lappers with less than two to go in the stage. MTJ would go on to take Stage 1.

Goodyear 400 Stage 2

Truex stayed out front during the stage break pit stops and led the field to the restart to Stage 2. Cole Custer got hit by Anothny Alfredo, and the contact sent his car into the wall. His day was done right there and the wreck left his car looking eerily similar to teammate Aric Almirola’s from earlier in the race. Kurt Busch had another bad run in the Goodyear 400 as he hit the wall and his car turn into a ball of inferno. The second verse of this race ended the same as the first with Truex Jr. winning Stage 2.

Goodyear 400 Final Stage

Erik Jones had a strong run disrupted when he cut a tire down early on in the stage after hitting the wall. Despite the incident, the race stayed green. Truex had no competition for the majority of the final stage as no one came within 2 seconds of him, until about 30 to go. Kyle Larson got up close to Truex and it certainly surprised the leader who mistook him for a lapped car on new tires initially.

“Is that him [Larson]?” Truex asked over the radio. Larson would go three-wide with two lappers to try and make a pass for the lead. That was the defining move of the race, and it didn’t work out in the No. 5 car’s favor. In the end, Martin Truex Jr. held Larson off and pulled away to get his third win of the year.

Final NASCAR Goodyear 400 Thoughts

The throwback paint schemes were really nice this year, and we have to shout out Erik Jones in the No. 43 for Richard Petty Motorsports for winning the best in show award. But other than seeing the drivers slide all over Darlington Raceway, this was not a great race. NASCAR is trying their best to make the races better, but a lot of teams missed badly on the new setup this week. Perhaps the absence of practice and qualifying is a bigger factor than the sport is willing to admit. The series will return to South Carolina for the Southern 500 this fall. Hopefully, that race will be better as it falls in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.

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