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Martin Truex Jr. cruises to Martinsville win for his first victory of 2020

Martin Truex Jr. has gone back-to-back at Martinsville.

Truex rebounded from an early pit penalty to drive away from Ryan Blaney and everyone else over the final 100 laps of Wednesday night’s race to get his first win of 2020.

Truex won at Martinsville in the fall of 2019 to secure a chance to race for the championship in the final race of the season. It was the third Cup Series win at a short track in Truex Jr.’s career.

Wednesday night, Truex was unstoppable over the race’s final 20 percent. Some damage earlier in the race forced his team to cut part of the right front fender off the car but it didn’t slow Truex down at all. He picked his way through lapped traffic over the final 100 green-flag laps and he beat Blaney to the line by over four seconds.

The win is Truex’s first of the season and also the first for crew chief James Small. He replaced Cole Pearn as Truex’s crew chief as Pearn suddenly called it quits on NASCAR at the end of the 2019 season.

Pearn has been a huge part of Truex’s recent success. Truex has gotten 24 of his 27 victories with Pearn and those 24 wins all came from 2015-19.

Truex’s early-race pit penalty was a commitment line violation. As he dove to pit road from the lead on lap 115 he didn’t get to the pit road commitment line soon enough and had to start at the back of the field.

Martin Truex Jr. (19) drives during a NASCAR Cup Series auto race Wednesday, June 10, 2020, in Martinsville, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Penske goes 2-3-4

Truex was the only driver at Joe Gibbs Racing who had a good night. His three teammates struggled mightily. Kyle Busch finished 19th, Erik Jones was 20th and Denny Hamlin was an inexplicable 24th.

While JGR struggled outside of Truex, every Team Penske driver had a great night. All three Penske drivers finished in a row behind Truex. Blaney was followed by Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski.

Blaney had one of the race’s fastest cars. He started first, fell a lap down early in the race, got his lap back, drove all the way back up to first and then seemed poised to contend for the win. But a pit penalty during a stop when a caution came out with 175 laps to go put Blaney in the back of the pack.

He drove his way to second but was three seconds back of Truex when he passed Keselowski with 44 laps to go.

Bubba Wallace finishes 11th

Bubba Wallace almost got a top 10 on Wednesday night. The most outspoken NASCAR driver over the last 10 days finished 11th after he was edged out by Jimmie Johnson at the finish line.

Wallace was mired in 15th for much of the final segment of the race. But he moved his way toward the top 10 at the end and had a car that was in the top half of the field the entire night.

“Our Black Lives Matter Chevrolet — that’s so good to say — was so good on the long runs,” Wallace said. “So we definitely didn’t need those cautions toward the end of the race.”

Wallace — the only black driver who races full-time in NASCAR — drove a car supporting Black Lives Matter on Wednesday. The car raced hours after NASCAR said it would prohibit fans from displaying the Confederate flag at races going forward.

Wallace had called for NASCAR to ban the flag in an interview with CNN on Monday night.

Austin Dillon forced to quit race

Austin Dillon had to be helped from his car and was taken to the infield care center during the race’s final caution of the night with approximately 100 laps to go.

A problem on Dillon’s car in the opening handful of laps knocked the crush panels out of it and Dillon drove much of the 500-lap race with fumes coming into a hot cockpit.

According to his wife Whitney, he was alert when taken to the care center. He was released shortly after the race.

Dillon finished 37th because the team didn’t have a backup driver on standby. NASCAR has restricted the number of people who can enter tracks on race days because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Full results

1. Martin Truex Jr.

2. Ryan Blaney

3. Brad Keselowski

4. Joey Logano 

5. Chase Elliott

6. Alex Bowman

7. Matt DiBenedetto

8. William Byron

9. Kurt Busch

10. Jimmie Johnson

11. Bubba Wallace

12. Ryan Newman

13. Chris Buescher

14. Michael McDowell

15. Kevin Harvick

16. Tyler Reddick

17. Clint Bowyer

18. Corey LaJoie

19. Kyle Busch

20. Erik Jones

21. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

22. Ty Dillon

23. Matt Kenseth

24. Denny Hamlin

25. John Hunter Nemechek

26. Ryan Preece

27. Daniel Suarez

28. Christopher Bell

29. Cole Custer

30. Brennan Poole

31. JJ Yeley

32. David Starr

33. Aric Almirola

34. Quin Houff

35. Joey Gase

36. Garrett Smithley

37. Austin Dillon

38. Reed Sorenson

39. Timmy Hill

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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