Underdogs of the Tums Fast Relief 500

Jeff Burton:  Burton was the top finishing non-chase driver at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday with his sixth place finish.  This is his second consecutive top-10 in a row after finishing second in the Good Sam Club 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.  The first caution of the race occurred on Lap 7 when Dale Earnhardt Jr ran over a curb, spinning out and causing a pile up.  Burton received sheet metal damage to the left-rear corner of his race car, but his pit crew was able to fix the damage and keep him on the lead lap.  He quickly raced his way back to the front of the pack and ran as high as seventh in the first 100 laps of the race.

Halfway through the race, Burton was running in ninth and ran in the top-15 for the next 150 laps.  On Lap 398 Burton was involved in a pile up involving Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch.  Burton backed his Chevy into the outside wall, resulting in minimal rear-end damage and restarting in 16th position.  Burton did not pit when the majority of the field pitted under caution on lap 457, moving him up to second place for the restart on lap 463.  Racing on old tires, Burton was eventually passed, but still came home with a top-10 finish.

Martin Truex Jr:  Unlike a majority of the field on Sunday, Truex had a relatively uneventful day at Martinsville Speedway.  Due to qualifying being rained out, Truex started the race in 24th position.  By Lap 110, he had broken into the top-10 and remained near 10th place throughout the rest of the race.  In the final three laps, Martin raced from 11th to eighth position to secure his top-10 finish.  This is the No. 56 team’s second consecutive top-10 finish and tenth top-10 of the season.

American Muscle

AJ Allmendinger:  AJ started the race in 16th position and wasted no time letting his team know that he was happy with his race car.  In fact, he was so happy with it that crew chief Greg Erwin elected not to bring the No. 43 Ford down pit road during the first three caution’s of the race.  Staying out under yellow, along with having a fast race car allowed Allmendinger to drive into the lead of the race on Lap 55.  Allmendinger continued to lead until Lap 66 when a caution came out, allowing him to pit for an air pressure adjustment, four tires and fuel.  Several teams did not to pit under this caution period, forcing Allmendinger to restart in 16th place.

Still pleased with his car, Allmendinger was able to take the lead again on Lap 117.  As the race wore on, the No. 43 car started to lose grip and positions on the race track.  Lap 407 Allmendinger sustained left front fender damage due to a multi-car pile up.  He was forced to pit to repair damage on Lap 409 and restarted in 22nd position on Lap 413.  Being the last car on the lead lap, Allmendinger race his way through the field and was in the 14th spot by Lap 441.

On Lap 444 Allmendinger made contact with the No. 78 car sending him sliding into the wall, causing minor right side damage.  He yet again found himself at the tail end of the lead lap with 50 laps to go.  Allmendinger once again raced his way to 15th position with six laps remaining in the race.  To Allmendinger’s benefit, caution came out for the final time on Lap 494.  This caution allowed AJ to gain four spots in the final three laps of the race, securing his 11th place finish.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.


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