The fan-favorite Throwback Weekend came to a close on Sunday with the Goodyear 400. The Cup Series race had to put on a show after the wreck-filled Truck Series race on Friday and the controversial ending to the Xfinity Series race on Saturday. Martin Truex Jr. put on an incredible show and became the first NASCAR driver to win a stage at Darlington and then take the checkered flag.
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver dominated the NASCAR race, winning the first two stages and leading the vast majority of the race. Truex also snapped a streak of his own by finally winning a race after leading more than 200 laps. He led 248 laps total en route to his third win of the year. Truex is currently the only driver to win more than one race so far.
Kyle Larson made a late run in the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro, pulling within one-third of a second. However, he was unable to complete the pass as Truex extended his lead once again to more than one second while passing Ryan Newman and Tyler Reddick. Larson ultimately finished second, his fifth top-five of the season.
Three drivers went to the garage early after slamming into the wall
The Lady in Black has a reputation for giving cars the infamous “Darlington Stripe,” but there were multiple vehicles that dealt with more serious issues. Aric Almirola, Cole Custer, and Kurt Busch all went to the garages early after slamming into the wall.
Almirola’s No. 10 was the first vehicle to exit the race. He passed Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and then lost some of his grip while going around a corner. Almirola checked up and attempted to regain control of the No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang, but Stenhouse tapped him from behind and sent the vehicle into the wall. The collision was so violent that Almirola’s front two tires came off the ground as fluids poured onto the track surface.
The second wreck involved 2020 Rookie of the Year Cole Custer. Anthony Alfredo came down the track off of a turn and sent Custer’s No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang sideways. The young NASCAR driver tried to bring the car to a stop but slammed violently into the wall. The collision was eerily similar to Almirola’s, and it had the same result.
The third wreck was less violent than the previous two, but it had the same outcome. A contender headed to the garage early after hitting the wall. Busch raced next to Matt DiBenedetto as they came around a turn. Bubba Wallace hit the No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Camaro from behind, sending it spinning sideways into the wall.
Busch’s collision was hard enough that his right front tire came off the ground and remained so as he tried to drive back to the garage. However, he had to bring the vehicle to a stop after flames erupted from underneath. The broadcast team announced that Busch had torn an oil line. Busch was able to climb from his ruined Camaro and head to the infield care center for evaluation. Fully cleared, he spoke to Fox Sports’ Jamie Little and made pointed comments about other drivers hitting other cars from behind.
William Byron continued a standout season for Hendrick Motorsports
A playoff driver in 2020, William Byron has continued to impress in 2021. He started the season with two tough races at Daytona International Speedway but won the third race of the season. Since reaching Victory Lane at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Byron has continued to put together strong performances every single week.
The driver of the No. 24 HMS Chevrolet Camaro has posted nine consecutive top-10 finishes since reaching Victory Lane and locking up his spot in the playoffs. This run includes three total top-five finishes. The No. 24 has continued to be one of the Cup Series’ best cars all year long while remaining an under-the-radar threat to take the checkered flag.
Byron will now try to continue his hot streak during a trip to Dover International Speedway. The HMS driver has not performed the best at the Delaware track during his career, only finishing top-10 twice. However, his most recent race at Dover resulted in a fourth-place finish.