STARTING LINEUP: 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Xfinity 500 At Martinsville Speedwayby Hunter Thomas October 29, 2023 0 comments
RIDGEWAY, Va. – Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. and Ty Gibbs will bring the field down to the green flag on Sunday to start the final race of the Round of 8 at Martinsville Speedway.
The pole is Truex’s second of the season, his first coming at Darlington Raceway back in the spring. Truex enters Sunday’s race needing to perform well in order to advance to the Championship 4 at Phoenix Raceway. Truex was happy with his car on Saturday but noted adjustments needed to be made.
“I feel good about how today went,” Truex said on Saturday. “I think we need to work on our car a little bit for tomorrow. It wasn’t quite what I think we needed for the long runs. We have a direction there. I think today – practice was a really good indicator there – sometimes we come here and it’s cold and not a lot of rubber grip down and it could change a lot for today – but today I feel like was a good indicator and we learned a lot. I know what we need to do, and now we have to go do it. We will see what happens. We are ready to go.”
Realistically, he’ll nearly have to win, but he could mathematically advance without doing so. The New Jersey native currently sits sixth in the standings, 17 points outside of the top-four.
“I think 17 is a long ways out,” Truex said. “Maybe if we could win both stages, it might change things around, but we will just wait and see. I don’t think stages are really on my radar right now, but we were certainly take them if we can get them.”
Denny Hamlin, who is also below the cutline qualified fourth. He’s also 17 points back from the cutline.
Kyle Larson (5th) and Christopher Bell (7th) are already locked into the Championship 4.
Ryan Blaney who is 10 points to the good, will start 11th on Sunday. He’s being touted as a race favorite for Sunday.
William Byron is nearly locked in so long as he doesn’t have a bad day. He’s currently 30 points to the good and will start mid-pack in 16th.
Chris Buescher, one of the Regular Season’s Cinderella stories will have to win on Sunday in order to advance. He will start 18th.
Tyler Reddick will start just behind Buescher in 19th. He is only 10 points out.
The Xfinity 500 will broadcast live on NBC at 2 p.m. ET today.