Updated: May 3
RIDGEWAY, Va. - After a strategy call to change two tires, Hendrick Motorsports driver Kyle Larson took the lead with 30 laps to go and never looked back to win his first NASCAR Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway in his 17th attempt.
Larson, who spent the first two months of the 2023 season without a win, has now found himself and the No. 5 Hendrickcars.com Chevrolet in victory lane twice in the last three races.
To celebrate Hendrick Motorsports' fourth win of the year and 295th win overall, Larson did a massive burnout around the entire 0.526-mile short track, blowing both his rear tires in the process.
"Yeah, just huge congratulations to this whole 5 team and Hendrick Motorsports," Larson said in a post-race interview. "I feel like Cliff [Daniels] and everybody did a great job all day on pit road making the right calls, having great pit stops, and then it all kind of worked out for me there at the end. We had a great car. That was the best my car had been I think being able to get out front and manage."
Larson also said that Martinsville is a track that he never thought he would win at because it simply doesn't suit his driving style. He added that he would have to make room and find a spot for the iconic grandfather clock.
Team Penske's Joey Logano ended up finishing runner-up to Larson, despite starting from the rear of the field and running outside of the top-15 for the majority of the race. Logano led 25 laps before Larson got around him.
"Solid recovery for what the start of the race looked like," Logano said. "We went down a lap twice, two times. At one point in the race, I would have been just happy to finish on a lead lap."
Logano also said he was not upset with a second-place finish.
"I tried holding off Larson as long as I could, but overall there’s days when you are mad about second," Logano said. "Today is not one of those, today is when you are pretty stoked that you finished a little better than I thought we were going to."
Although Logano was the best finishing Ford, most of the Ford focus was on Stewart-Haas Racing, who combined to lead 264 of the 400 laps or 66% of the race.
Pole-sitter Ryan Preece led the first 135 laps of the race before a pit road speeding penalty sabotaged his day as he came home 15th. Chase Briscoe led a career-high 109 laps and went on to finish fifth for the second straight week. Kevin Harvick led 20 laps, won a stage for the first time since 2020 and finished 20th. Aric Almirola ran up front all day and finished sixth.
Other Race Facts
Hendrick Motorsports has found victory lane with all four of its current drivers at Martinsville Speedway since 2020. The team also won at least one Martinsville Cup race in the last four seasons: Chase Elliott (2020), Alex Bowman (2021), William Byron (2022) and Kyle Larson (2023).
The 2023 NOCO 400 at Martinsville Speedway was the 60th NASCAR Cup Series win for Chevrolet at Martinsville.
Martin Truex Jr. was the highest-finishing Toyota (third) after battling his way through the entire field after an early pit road speeding penalty. Truex Jr.'s third-place finish was his first top-five of the 2023 season, which helped him continue his streak of being the only Cup driver to finish every race inside the top-20 this year.
Chase Briscoe scored the most points of the 2023 NOCO 400 (47), despite finishing fifth. This marks only the second time this season that no driver reached 50 points in an individual race (Daytona 500).
In his first race back after suffering a fractured tibia in early March, Chase Elliott finished 10th after missing six races.
In the 2023 Rookie of the Year battle, Ty Gibbs has finished ahead of Noah Gragson in the last eight races. Despite Gragson finishing ahead of Gibbs only one time (Daytona 500), Gibbs has still outscored Gragson in every race this season.
Results from the 2023 NOCO 400 at Martinsville Speedway are listed here.
The 2023 GRID Ranking is the seventh year of the premier motorsport ranking in the world and it was initially released on Sunday, April 2.
Drivers in the seven racing series participating in the ranking (NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula 1, Formula E, World Rally Championship, Repco Supercars, MotoGP) have earned GRID Ratings, which helped determine their seeding during Week 2 of the 2023 GRID Ranking.
The NASCAR Cup Series is the only racing series to compete during every week of the 2023 GRID Ranking. For the first time this year, there is a NASCAR Cup Series driver inside of the top-10.
With a 16th-place finish at Martinsville, Joe Gibbs Racing driver Christopher Bell has made his way into the GRID Ranking top-10 with a rating of 13.60. Bell jumps from 11th in Week 2 to 10th in Week 3.
After winning at Martinsville, Hendrick Motorsports' Kyle Larson jumps from 31st in the GRID Ranking to 14th with a rating of 12.80.
Tyler Reddick from 23XI Racing falls from 18th to 20th (10.80 GRID Rating), while Team Penske's Joey Logano's second-place finish pushes him into a tie with Reddick in 20th place. William Byron falls from 25th to 33rd with a 9.60 GRID Rating.
Week 3 of the 2023 GRID Ranking can be found here.
The next race on the calendar for the NASCAR Cup Series is the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, April 23 at 3 p.m. ET on FOX.
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