NASCAR at Martinsville results: Chase Elliott reaches Championship 4 with career-best race

Chase Ellliott now has the chance to do what his father, Bill, accomplished in 1988: a NASCAR stock car championship at the sport’s highest level.

Needing to win at Martinsville on Sunday to advance to the Championship 4 in Phoenix, the 24-year-old son of a legend delivered the greatest performance of his career to date. He led more laps than he had ever managed, and he stormed to an Xfinity 500 victory by a margin of more than six seconds.

Elliott was moved to tears by his dramatic afternoon.

Kevin Harvick, meanwhile, was stunned and eliminated despite entering the competition 42 points clear of the cut line. A subpar Stage 1 made way to a Stage 2 debacle in which a flat tire sent him multiple laps down. He fought back to the lead lap and tried a desperation move to catch up to Brad Keselowski on points but crashed as a result of the attempt.

Here’s the 2020 Championship 4 group of drivers:

  • Joey Logano
  • Denny Hamlin
  • Brad Keselowski
  • Chase Elliott

Sporting News tracked live updates and lap-by-lap highlights from Sunday’s NASCAR race at Martinsville. Follow below for complete results from the Xfinity 500.

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NASCAR at Martinsville results, highlights from 2020 playoff race

5:55 p.m.: Elliott wins at Martinsville! And Harvick is eliminated. Harvick made a desperate move at the end and spun out.

5:54 p.m.: Five laps to go.

5:53 p.m.: Keselowski gains a spot on Harvick. Harvick on the brink of elimination.

5:52 p.m.: Elliott is pulling away. He’s up more than five seconds on the field with 10 laps to go.

5:51 p.m.: Hamlin not happy with Erik Jones.

5:50 p.m.: Hamlin, Harvick and Keselowski are separated by three points. Any one of them could be eliminated.

5:50 p.m.: 16 laps to go.

5:48 p.m.: Elliott leads by more than four seconds. A win and he’s in. Harvick, meanwhile, is OUT by one point as it stands.

5:46 p.m.: Truex pits because of his loose wheel. There goes his season.

5:46 p.m.: Alex Bowman has snuck into the top five.

5:44 p.m.: Truex is in trouble.

5:41 p.m.: LaJoie takes a penalty and Elliott takes the lead soon after.

5:38 p.m.: Because he was out of fresh tires anyway, Corey LaJoie is the only driver to stay out. He takes the lead and his social media team is having fun with it.

5:30 p.m.: Caution for Byron.

5:30 p.m.: Tiebreaker belongs to Harvick if he needs it against Keselowski.

5:28 p.m.: Elliott to third place. 65 laps remaining.

5:25 p.m.: Keselowski is making moves. He’s now just two points behind Harvick.

5:22 p.m.: Harvick is now ahead of Keselowski following Keselowski’s speeding violation. That’s big because now a win by Truex Jr. would eliminate Keselowski, not Harvick.

5:20 p.m.: Truex to the lead!

5:17 p.m.: Keselowski is penalized for speeding on pit road. Elliott’s crew is failing him.

5:16 p.m.: Logano is first off pit road.

5:12 p.m.: Caution. Harvick is the free pass.

5:11 p.m.: Ryan Blaney, who is not a playoff contender, is in first place. There are 100 laps remaining.

5:06 p.m.: Harvick is back IN as things stand.

4:56 p.m.: And now NASCAR rescinds the penalty! The crew member apparently re-established position behind the wall in time.

4:55 p.m.: WOW. Elliott to the rear for a pit violation. Crew member over the wall too soon.

4:54 p.m.: Elliott loses his lead with a subpar pit stop. Logano and Truex Jr. move ahead of him.

4:52 p.m.: Caution with 150 to go.

4:44 p.m.: Kurt Busch is in fifth place. The finish here should be wild.

4:41 p.m.: Truex is fighting Elliott for the lead but hasn’t caught him yet.

4:36 p.m.: Elliott is stepping up when it matters most.

4:32 p.m.: Harvick can’t catch a break. He loses his free pass position after Elliott laps Timmy Hill.

4:30 p.m.: Elliott still leads. Harvick is still OUT as things stand.

4:22 p.m.: Hamlin now has to make an unexpected pit for loose lug nuts. This race is going off the rails.

4:19 p.m.: Elliott wins Stage 2.

4:09 p.m.: Elliott back to first place with 20 laps remaining in Stage 2. He’s run a fantastic race so far.

4:05 p.m.: Hamlin leads.

4 p.m.: Caution for Corey LaJoie. Kevin Harvick is not the free pass, meaning he’ll stay a lap down.

3:58 p.m.: With Elliott in the lead an likely to pick up stage points (with Harvick almost certainly missing the top 10 for Stage 2), it would likely be Harvick OUT entering the final stage. Crazy.

3:44 p.m.: As it stands, Harvick is actually right on the edge of elimination based on points, regardless of who wins. He held a 42-point advantage above the cutoff entering this race.

3:43 p.m.: And now Harvick is forced to pit road with a flat tire. He’s two laps down. Depending on who wins today, he could be in trouble.

3:40 p.m.: Kevin Harvick is stuck in 24th place.

3:35 p.m.: Kurt Busch held a brief lead, but Elliott has now taken over.

3:12 p.m.: Denny Hamlin wins Stage 1.

2:53 p.m.: Elliott takes the lead at the restart.

2:45 p.m.: Caution. Clint Bowyer involved.

2:36 p.m.: Elliott is up to second.

2:30 p.m.: Chase Elliott knows he likely needs a win today.

2:24 p.m.: Truex continues to lead through 25 laps. There are 130 laps in Stage 1.

2:16 p.m.: Martin Truex Jr. makes an early pass of Brad Keselowski at the front.

2:15 p.m.: GREEN FLAG.

2:04 p.m.: Engines are fired.

NASCAR start time today

The last of three Round of 8 races is scheduled for Sunday at 2 p.m. ET. It comes just four days after NASCAR completed its postponed Texas race. The short turnaround is one of several main storylines expected to be discussed at length on the afternoon Martinsville broadcast.

Most of NASCAR’s recent playoff races have taken place around the same time, but several have been delayed or postponed because of inclement weather. There is a threat of rain in the Sunday forecast for Martinsville. The track has lights, meaning a night race would be in play if the track needs time to dry.

The race is 500 laps spread over three stages and will become official after 250. The distance of the race is 263 miles.

Martin Truex Jr, who desperately needs a win to secure a Championship 4 place at Phoenix, has swooped to victory lane in back-to-back outings at Martinsville.

MORE: NASCAR championship scenarios for Martinsville

NASCAR at Martinsville starting lineup

The starting lineup for Sunday’s race at Martinsville was determined by NASCAR’s new formula for setting lineups in races without qualifying. The same procedure will be used through the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.

The formula produced this starting lineup for Sunday’s NASCAR race at Martinsville:

Pos. Driver Car Team
1 Brad Keselowski (P) 2 Team Penske
2 Martin Truex Jr. (P) 19 Joe Gibbs Racing
3 Alex Bowman (P) 88 Hendrick Motorsports
4 Denny Hamlin (P) 11 Joe Gibbs Racing
5 Kurt Busch (P) 1 Chip Ganassi Racing
6 Kevin Harvick (P) 4 Stewart-Haas Racing
7 Joey Logano (P) 22 Team Penske
8 Chase Elliott (P) 9 Hendrick Motorsports
9 Kyle Busch 18 Joe Gibbs Racing
10 Ryan Blaney 12 Team Penske
11 Christopher Bell 95 Leavine Family Racing
12 Matt DiBenedetto 21 Wood Brothers Racing
13 William Byron 24 Hendrick Motorsports
14 Austin Dillon 3 Richard Childress Racing
15 Cole Custer 41 Stewart-Haas Racing
16 Clint Bowyer 14 Stewart-Haas Racing
17 Tyler Reddick 8 Richard Childress Racing
18 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing
19 Erik Jones 20 Joe Gibbs Racing
20 Aric Almirola 10 Stewart-Haas Racing
21 Ryan Newman 6 Roush Fenway Racing
22 Ryan Preece 37 JTG Daugherty Racing
23 John Hunter Nemechek 38 Front Row Motorsports
24 Michael McDowell 34 Front Row Motorsports
25 Ty Dillon 13 Germain Racing
26 Corey LaJoie 32 GoFas Racing
27 Jimmie Johnson 48 Hendrick Motorsports
28 Chris Buescher 17 Roush Fenway Racing
29 Daniel Suarez 96 Gaunt Brothers Racing
30 Brennan Poole 15 Premium Motorsports
31 Matt Kenseth 42 Chip Ganassi Racing
32 Bubba Wallace 43 Richard Petty Motorsports
33 Josh Bilicki 7 Tommy Baldwin Racing
34 Timmy Hill 66 Motorsports Business Management
35 Quin Houff 00 StarCom Racing
36 Garrett Smithley 77 Spire Motorsports
37 James Davison 53 Rick Ware Racing
38 JJ Yeley 27 Rick Ware Racing
39 Joey Gase 51 Petty Ware Racing

(P) Playoff driver.

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