CONCORD, N.C. -- Alex Bowman won his fourth NASCAR Cup Series race this season and Chase Elliott secured his position in the Championship 4 after a caution-ridden race at Martinsville Speedway Sunday afternoon.
Bowman was riding in the top two for most of the afternoon and gained the lead with less than 10 laps left in the race. Bowman held in for the final two laps in NASCAR overtime to take the checkered flag for his first Martinsville victory and fourth win of 2021.
Elliott finished the race 16th but was up front the majority of the day until he was spun out with 45 laps left in the race. He clinched his spot in the final round of the playoffs through points after he won the first two stages of the race.
William Byron also was in the top five for most of the day and finished the race fifth, marking his second top-five finish in the last three races. Kyle Larson, who already is in the Championship 4 through his wins at Texas and Kansas, placed 14th.
Take a look below to see how all four Hendrick Motorsports teams fared at Martinsville.
KYLE LARSON, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1 1LE
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Larson started from the pole position and kept the lead spot until teammate Chase Elliott passed him right before the competition caution. He used the No. 1 pit stall to his advantage when he received four tires and fuel, reclaiming that top spot. Larson soon had a half-second lead but was passed by Elliott again on lap 95. He held steady in second place until the first stage ended.
- Larson beat Elliott off pit road after a stellar stop between stages but he was penalized for speeding, sending him to the rear of the field. He was 22nd by lap 141, 17th by lap 170, 14th by lap 177 and in 11th when the second caution came out on lap 198. Larson pitted for tires and fuel, and the restart allowed him to move into the top 10. Larson settled in 10th and held that position until lap 245 when he slipped to 11th, which is how he finished stage two.
- The California native gained three spots on pit road after a stellar stop, allowing him to begin stage three in eighth place. He edged to seventh by lap 289 and was there when the sixth caution waved on lap 310 and used his pit stop to restart in fifth place. Larson slid to eighth when the seventh caution came out on lap 323 and was up to seventh when the next caution occurred on lap 340.
- He used the pit stop to jump up to fourth place, then he slid into third behind Elliott and Alex Bowman. With 134 laps to go, he trickled to fifth before a caution came out on lap 378. Larson was penalized for speeding on pit road a second time and had to start from the rear again.
- With 100 laps to go, Larson was 21st. He moved into 19th by lap 497, 16th by lap 424 and managed to jump to 11th when the 11th caution forced another restart. He pitted under a yellow flag after a car got loose and got into the side of his Chevrolet. Larson was up to 17th with 28 laps of racing left. He shifted up to 14th before the race ended.
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1 1LE
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Elliott lined up next to teammate Kyle Larson in second and dropped to third within the first lap. By lap 12 he was battling to pass the second-place driver in the tight corners of Martinsville but eventually had to settle back in third.
- Elliott used lap traffic to his advantage around lap 50 and was able to claim second place. Seven laps later, he was pressuring Larson for the lead, eventually claiming it right before the competition caution.
- The 25-year-old driver lost a position on pit road after he received four tires a fuel, restarting second. He fought for second place in the first couple laps of the restart but secured it by the time the second yellow flag dropped. With less than 35 laps left in the first stage, Elliott retook first place from Larson. He remained out front for the remainder of stage one.
- Elliott restarted first and stayed firm in that spot until a caution waved on lap 198. He pitted under yellow for four tires and fuel but lost his top spot on pit road. Elliott restarted second but reclaimed the lead within a lap. He clinched his spot in the Championship 4 via points after he won stage two.
- The Dawsonville, Georgia, native started first for stage three and was the steady leader until after the eighth caution. While Elliott pitted, one driver remained on the track and pushed him down to second but Elliott's fresher tires allowed him to reclaim the lead within 10 laps. The ninth caution of the race allowed Elliott to pit for fuel and tires, but he restarted sixth after three cars remained on the track.
- Elliott started to pick off the field and was fourth by lap 393 and third by lap 396. He was spun out with 45 laps left in the race, which brought out another caution. Elliott pitted to repair a little bit of side damage and was 21st when the race went green. He managed to get to 16th after the white flag waved in overtime.
WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 LIBERTY UNIVERSITY CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1 1LE
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Byron was 11th for the start of the race at Martinsville and slowly started to climb up the ranks. By lap 28 he was eighth and he carefully nudged the seventh-place car out of the way to claim that position. Byron was still seventh when the competition yellow came out.
- He shifted to sixth place, then fifth before the second caution dropped from an accident, allowing him to move into fourth place once the race restarted. Byron remained firm in that position until stage one ended.
- The Charlotte, North Carolina, native lost a spot on pit road and was fifth for the beginning of stage two. It took only a couple of laps for Byron to move back into fourth place, and he took third by lap 154. Nearly 70 laps later, he moved into second behind Chase Elliott and remained there until Alex Bowman passed him on lap 234. Byron finished stage two in that spot.
- The driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE came off pit road down two positions and restarted stage three in fifth. He moved to fourth within a couple laps and soon was working the inside of the third-place car, snagging the spot by lap 287. Byron was down to fifth after a yellow-flag pit stop, restarted fourth but dropped to sixth within a lap.
- With 155 laps left in the race, Byron was riding in seventh place. He pushed into the top five and was riding in fourth by lap 369, staying in that position until the ninth caution dropped. Byron restarted seventh after pitting for four tires and fuel, but he was immediately pushed down to ninth. He was in eighth place with 85 laps to go and was in fifth 35 laps later.
- Byron jumped to third with 45 laps left after the 12th caution of the event. He was fourth with 34 laps to go and fell to fifth by lap 480 and remained in that position through NASCAR overtime for his second top-five finish and third top-10 in the last three races.
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 48 ALLY CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1 1LE
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Bowman rolled off the grid 13th and methodically edged up the leaderboard, breaking into the top 10 by lap 29. He moved to eighth right before the competition caution, which he used to pit for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Bowman restarted in the same position but quickly dropped to 10th. He moved into ninth by lap 120 and shifted up to eighth before stage one ended.
- Bowman restarted ninth, took eighth by lap 145 and was seventh by lap 149. He was established in the top five a few laps later and moved behind teammate William Byron in fourth place by lap 170. Bowman lost a spot on lap 207 but crept up to fourth, then third by lap 230. He quickly surpassed Byron on lap 234 for second place and finished stage two in that position.
- The 29-year-old driver lined up next to teammate Chase Elliott for the start of stage three but trickled to third a few laps later. He was up to the bumper of the second-place car by lap 281 and he reclaimed the spot one lap later. Bowman was third after a yellow-flag stop but used a strong restart to jump back to second place. He followed Elliott to second with less than 150 laps left of racing, eventually pitting under yellow on lap 378. Bowman lost six spots on pit road, forcing him to restart 11th.
- He was up to eighth within two laps of the restart and edged to sixth several laps later. Bowman edged back in the top five by lap 395 and was riding in fourth seven laps later. He claimed third place and used the 11th caution to restart second with 58 laps left in the race. Bowman was on the bumper of the lead driver and went through multiple restarts while keeping that spot.
- He was third when a caution came out with 28 laps left in the race. Bowman used the yellow flag to jump to second and battle for the lead in the final laps of the race. He got loose and tapped the lead driver, which pushed him into first and brought out the 15th caution. Bowman launched ahead of the field once the green flag waved for NASCAR overtime and held on for two laps to win his fourth race this year.