Martin Truex Jr. cruised down the stretch and won his first NASCAR Cup race of the season on Wednesday night in the first race under the lights at Martinsville Speedway.
Truex, the 2017 Cup champion, has been one of NASCAR’s biggest winners over the last three years, but failed to find victory lane for Joe Gibbs Racing over the first 10 races of this season.
Tick tock. The time ran out on the losing streak.
Truex won the Martinsville grandfather clock on the paperclip-shaped track at just 0.526 miles. He won for the first time with new crew chief Jason Small.
“I knew we were going to get one soon,” Truex said. “Hopefully we can get on a roll.”
Ryan Blaney, Brad Keselowski, who has two wins this season, and Joey Logano made it a 2-3-4 finish for Team Penske.
The race started shortly after NASCAR issued a ban of the confederate flag, stating “it will be prohibited from all NASCAR events and properties.”
The issue was pushed to the fore this week by Bubba Wallace, NASCAR’s lone black driver and an Alabama native who called for the banishment of the Confederate flag and said there was “no place” for it in the sport. Wallace drove the Richard Petty Motorsports’ No. 43 Chevrolet with a #BlackLivesMatter paint scheme. Wallace, wearing an American flag mask, clapped his hands when asked about the decision before the start of the race.