NASCAR has postponed the remainder of the Blu-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 to Sunday at 4 p.m. (FS1). The Cup Series raced 42 laps before the race was red-flagged for rain.
NASCAR is racing under the lights at Martinsville Speedway tonight. After a rain delay that lasted over an hour, the race went green at 9:25 p.m. and was red-flagged just before 10 p.m. after 42 laps.
The Blu-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 is 500 laps total (263 miles) with stages ending on laps 130, 260 and 500.
Check back here for lap-by-lap updates from the track and follow NASCAR reporter on Twitter at @AndrejevAlex.
RACE POSTPONED, 10:23 p.m.: NASCAR announces that the remainder of its Cup race has been postponed to Sunday at 4 p.m. on FS1.
RED FLAG, 10:12 p.m.: Rain is now picking up and the weather radar shows showers intensifying over the next hour. NASCAR’s drying team remains on the track.
RED FLAG, 9:57 p.m.: Jet dryers are back on the track as cars remain covered on pit road. Rain is light, but steady.
RED FLAG, 9:44 p.m.: NASCAR calls cars to pit road as rain picks up at Martinsville. Drivers exit their cars after completing 42 of 500 laps. Denny Hamlin is the race leader, followed by Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr., Chase Elliott, William Byron, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Larson in the top-10.
Hamlin says on FS1 that the track conditions were “a little wet near the walls, but overall it was okay.”
”NASCAR just can’t catch a break,” Hamlin says of the rain delays. “Appreciate them sticking it out, at least getting some laps in.”
Lap 36, 9:38 p.m.: Denny Hamlin leads Joey Logano by just over two seconds when the first caution flag of the evening comes out for James Davison spinning in Turn 4. The field pits under the yellow flag and teams mention the slickness of pit road and “a drizzle” picking up.
Lap 17, 9:35 p.m.: Denny Hamlin has lapped his first car, the No. 00 of Quin Houff. Hamlin has almost two seconds on the rest of the field, and quickly starts weaving through other lapped cars. Joey Logano regains his second place spot, as William Byron falls all the way back to sixth before the 30th lap.
Lap 10, 9:28 p.m.: Front row start Denny Hamlin takes the lead from pole-sitter Joey Logano on Lap 4, and Logano falls to third place behind William Byron shortly after. The running order is Hamlin, Byron, Logano, Martin Truex Jr., Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney.
Getting ready to race
Green flag! Former Cup champion (1989) Rusty Wallace waves the flag an hour and 25 minutes later than originally scheduled, at 9:25 p.m.
9:13 p.m.: NASCAR’s jet dryers continue working to dry standing water on pit road as the field makes pace laps, but otherwise, the track appears to be in raceable shape with only light sprinkles reported.
8:57 p.m.: Drivers are at their cars getting ready to race. A recorded version of the national anthem performed by former Cy Young winner Jake Peavy was played, and met with cheers in the stands, which are nowhere near full. But some fans have returned to hear engines fired just before 9 p.m.
8:45 p.m.: The covers have been removed from the cars and NASCAR has updated its pre-race schedule. Driver introductions have been canceled, and weather permitting, the command will come at 8:58 with the green flag scheduled for 9:10 p.m.
8:37 p.m.: Rain is very light at the moment and the Air Titans are making decent progress in drying the track. If the rain holds off like this, we could see some racing tonight.
8:16 p.m.: Yes, the dryers are still looping.
7:35 p.m.: With rain lightened, NASCAR’s track drying team has resumed its efforts with seven Air Titans and a jet dryer making slow loops.
Track drying team mobilized, then parked
7:20 p.m.: Seven air titans made loops on a damp track in attempt to push water off the half-mile paperclip before harder showers hit around 7 p.m. The limited fans that earlier filed in, many adorned in rain ponchos, have dispersed before the 8 p.m. scheduled green flag. Air Titans sit parked on the side of the track as rain continues in Ridgeway, Va. to delay the start of the race.
Reddick, LaJoie among drivers dropping to the back
6:20 p.m.: In addition to Daniel Suárez, Tyler Reddick will drop to the rear for the start of the race due to unapproved adjustments to his No. 8 Chevrolet. He was slated to start 13th. Justin Haley, Corey LaJoie and James Davison will also drop to the back for multiple inspection failures. They were slated to start 30th, 34th and 37th, respectively.
Suárez’s team penalized with crew chief ejection
5:55 p.m.: NASCAR announces its pre-race technical inspection failures. Daniel Suárez will drop to the rear to start the race and his crew chief, Travis Mack, has been ejected from the race for an improperly mounted ballast on the Trackhouse Racing team’s No. 99 Chevrolet. Team engineer Jose Blasco-Figueroa will serve as the substitute crew chief for the race.
Suárez and his Trackhouse Racing team had a strong run at the Bristol dirt race two weeks ago, with Suárez posting a top-five finish. He finished that race in fourth place, a season-high finish for the new Cup team in the first seven races. Suárez was slated to start 11th, but will drop to the rear on pace laps as part of the penalty.
In addition to Suárez, Justin Haley, Corey LaJoie and James Davison will also drop to the rear for the start of the race for multiple inspection failures. They were slated to start 30th, 34th and 37th, respectively.
Wet weather looming
5:45 p.m.: Dark clouds are hanging overhead at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Va. as Cup teams uncover their cars on the grid. Rain is in the forecast tonight. There is a 61 percent chance of rain at 7 p.m., according to AccuWeather.com. That forecast becomes a 50 percent chance of storms between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. Friday’s Xfinity Series race was postponed to Sunday due to rain after the field races 91 laps of the 250-lap event.
The 500-lap Cup race would be considered official at the halfway point, or 250 laps.
NASCAR this weekend: How to watch the race at Martinsville
Race: Blu-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500
When: Saturday, April 10 at 7:30 p.m. EST
How to watch/listen: FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 500 laps, 263 miles on the 0.526-mile paperclip-shaped oval
Stages: Laps 130, 260, 500
Last year’s winner: Martin Truex Jr.
NASCAR Cup at Martinsville starting order
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Martin Truex Jr.