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Truex ends 2020 winless skid with victory at Martinsville
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Martin Truex Jr. used a trip to NASCAR’s shortest track to end a lengthy losing streak on the day the stock car series at long last banned the Confederate flag.
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Truex 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. He won 19 times from 2017-2019.
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“I knew we were going to get one soon,” Truex said. “Hopefully we can get on a roll.”
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 James Small.
“It’s huge for him and his confidence and for the way people look at him,” Truex said. “I think it’s huge. I knew all along that he was capable, I know he’s going to be an amazing crew chief for a long time to come.”
NASCAR'S BUBBA WALLACE TO RUN 'BLACK LIVES MATTER' CAR AT MARTINSVILLE
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 said the Confederate flag would be 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.
“It’s been a stressful couple of weeks,” Wallace said on FS1. “This is no doubt the biggest race of my career tonight. I’m excited about tonight. There’s a lot of emotions on the race track.”
Wallace wore a black “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirt but did not kneel during the national anthem. His Chevy had “Compassion, Love, Understanding” emblazoned on the hood. He finished 11th at Martinsville.