Martinsville was highly regarded as one of the best races of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. While many based that on the late race crashes, the entire race had a lot of beating and banging and a lot of passing. That’s what short track racing is all about.
But it was the final five laps and post race fallout that has everyone talking. From Chase Elliott getting beside Brad Keselowski and move him up the track to Denny Hamlin shoving Elliott into the wall and out of the lead. And after the race, there was a huge wreck at the finish line while Hamlin and Elliott had a “discussion” on the backstretch. Kevin Harvick and Ryan Blaney also had a talk on pit road and in the end, it was a usual Martinsville race just spiced up with the NASCAR Playoffs and it being at night.
Kyle Busch was the one who got through all that mess to win and advance to the Championship Four at Homestead. With all the pressure and high stakes mixed together, you get this.
As he was leading late in the race, Elliott got some damage in the left rear and had a tire rub. As the team was trying to figure out a way to fix it without Elliott pitting (and losing his chance to win) while at the same time, not blow a tire (same outcome), he was saved with a caution.
Eddie D’Hondt (Chase Elliott’s spotter) – Got a left rear tire rub here.
Alan Gustafson (Elliott’s crew chief) – Try to adjust your track bar down or up to see if that will clear it up a little bit.
Chad Knaus (Jimmie Johnson’s crew chief) – Who’s got a flat?
Earl Barban (Johnson’s crew chief) – Leader might have a tire rub or something.
The closer everyone got to the end of the race, the less patience everyone has. This caused some tempers to boil but not completely boil over yet.
Martin Truex Jr. – He (Hamlin) starts hitting me, we’re going to have a problem.
Tab Boyd (Joey Logano’s spotter) – Coming in, inside, inside. Dang, Kyle (Busch)!
Clayton Hughes (Truex’s spotter) – #18 got the #22 and then got into the #24. #22 is gonna have a major problem here.
Logano would eventually blow a tire and spin out, causing the hectic final laps.
Before he got wrecked by Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott got into turn three too deep and hit Brad Keselowski. While Keselowski and his team were understandably angry, Elliott was at least somewhat trying to make the corner and had the inside line.
Brad Keselowski (screaming) – Is that what they call racing? That’s bullshit!
Joey Meier (Keselowski’s spotter) – He didn’t even try to make the corner there, Paul.
Paul Wolfe (Keselowski’s crew chief) – I know he didn’t. He didn’t even start on the bottom lane. He knew what he was going to do.
While there is an argument that Elliott’s move was racing, Hamlin’s move was almost universally viewed as a dump and run. Even Truex’s crew, who have a partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing said it was bad.
Chris Lambert (Denny Hamlin’s spotter) – You and the #24.
Eddie D’Hondt (Elliott’s crew chief) – Pushing you. Oh, he just wrecked us! (Unknown wzplwrive)
Greg Ives (Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s crew chief) – That’s terrible.
Cole Pearn (Martin Truex Jr’s crew chief) – Yeah, that was pretty much straight up dumping ‘em.
Chase Elliott – Yep, he definitely wrecked me.
Denny Hamlin – He checked up way early.
Elliott – Did what happen what I think happened or am I skewed?
D’Hondt – Nah, he drove all over your bumper and crashed ya.
Elliott – That’s what I figured. 10-4, good to know, thanks.
Kevin Hamlin (Kasey Kahne’s spotter/no relation to Denny) – Denny just wrecked the shit out of Chase. Didn’t even try to pass him. He just drove right through the back of him.
Mike Bugarewicz (Clint Bowyer’s crew chief) – Two playoff guys take out another playoff guy. That’s how they’re racing each other up front.
Ryan Blaney – Doesn’t seem like there’s a whole lot of love anywhere.
Josh Williams (Blaney’s spotter) – I love you, man.
Blaney – Yeah, I do too. I was just saying on the racetrack.
As the cars came to the finish line, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. got through to the finish but Hamlin got into Ryan Blaney and wrecked the rest of the field behind him.
Clayton Hughes (Truex’s spotter) – Damn it! Second! Damn! Big wreck behind you! Whole fucking front stretch wrecked.
Cole Pearn (Truex’s crew chief) – Hell of a fucking job, Martin.
Denny Hamlin – I didn’t expect that from a teammate. Come on now.
Mike Wheeler (Hamlin’s crew chief) – I know it’s hard to swallow.
Chad Knaus (Jimmie Johnson’s crew chief) – You ok, bud?
Jimmie Johnson- Yeah.
Knaus – Well, that was a rough day.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. – What a fucking mess that was.
Matt Kenseth – I tell you something, that #21 is a freakin’ moron and needs to get punched in the head.
Josh Williams (Ryan Blaney’s spotter) – Denny got moved, got turned on our nose and then he just kept turning left into us trying to get straightened back out.
Lambert – #24 is waiting for us on the backstretch, Wheels so keep the guys close.
Eddie D’Hondt (Chase Elliott’s spotter) – Screw him.
Lambert – Be smart. Be smart.
D’Hondt – All right, face to face guys. Outside the car.
[Photo: Fox Sports]