Plenty of questions were raised going into Sunday's 500 lapper at Martinsville. Among them, would the Goodyear tires hold up on the tight half mile track? They did alright. Would Denny Hamlin kick it up a notch? He was up front most of the day until a late pit stop cost him positions. Could Carl Edwards lead his first lap here? He led three, during green flag pit stops.
Kevin Harvick won his second in a row. Two wins in a row, while leading seven laps total in the two races. As long as he keeps leading the last ones it looks like he is the man to beat, for now.
Dale Earnhardt Jr took the lead late on Sunday, and it seemed like his 99 race winless run was about to end until Harvick regulated him to second place at the end. Kyle Busch took over the points lead and came home third after leading the most laps. Juan Montoya (3rd), Matt Kenseth (6th), Jamie McMurray (7th), and David Ragan (8th) all had great finishes. Clint Bowyer led 91 laps and was 9th.
A couple of times a year it seems like NASCAR's safety measures are put to the test. Sunday, Martin Truex Jr's stuck throttle showed how far those measures have advanced. While the car itself did its job, the wall and "kill switch" did not. The race was red flagged after the wall was damaged by Truex's impact, and his engine kill switch did not work as designed to cut the engine.
How can Bristol be only half full just a couple of weeks ago, yet two hours away, Martinsville is almost sold out?
Denny Hamlin's inner spoiled child reared his ugly head during the race. Hamlin sounded off about poor fuel mileage, bad pit stops, and team strategy in general. For his last couple of pit stops the #11 team used the #20 team's front tire changer.... while Joey Logano was still on the lead lap!