NOCO 400

Date:  April 16, 2023
Event:  NOCO 400 (Round 9 of 36)
Series:  NASCAR Cup Series
Location:  Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (.526-mile oval)
Format:  400 laps, broken into three stages (80 laps/100 laps/220 laps)

Race Winner:  Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner:  Ryan Preece of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner:  Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

SHR Race Finish: 
●  Aric Almirola (Started 3rd, Finished 6th / Running, completed 400 of 400 laps)

SHR Points:
●  Aric Almirola (26th with 143 points, 159 out of first)

Almirola Notes: 
●  Almirola earned his first top-10 of the season and his eighth top-10 in 29 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Martinsville.
●  This was Almirola’s best finish so far this year. His previous best was 13th, earned April 2 at Richmond.
●  This was Almirola’s fourth straight top-15 at Martinsville. He finished sixth in October 2021, eighth in April 2022 and 15th last October.
●  Almirola finished second in Stage 1 to earn nine bonus points and ninth in Stage 2 to earn two additional bonus points.

Race Notes:      

●  Kyle Larson won the NOCO 40 to score his 21st career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his first at Martinsville. His margin over second-place Joey Logano was 4.142 seconds.
●  Twenty-four of the 36 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.
●  There were five caution periods for a total of 50 laps.
●  Christopher Bell remains the championship leader after Martinsville with a five-point advantage over second-place Ross Chastain.

Sound Bites:
“It’s crazy that Martinsville is a track-position race. The cars are so close and so competitive. I thought we were, arguably, the best car the first part of the race, and then we got a little bit behind as the track changed and the car changed a little bit. Then after that, we got the car really good. Drew (Blickensderfer, crew chief) made some great adjustments and I thought we were, arguably, the best car. We went through that green flag pit sequence and then a caution comes out for a wheel and gives a lot of those guys just a free gift that stayed out. A lot of those guys we had lapped already in the race, and it’s just so hard to pass

Next Up:
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the GEICO 500 on Sunday, April 23 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. The race begins at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.