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)
● Aric Almirola (26th with 143 points, 159 out of first)
● 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.
● 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.
“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
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.