William Byron wins uneventful NASCAR race at Martinsville

MARTINSVILLE, VIRGINIA - APRIL 09: William Byron, driver of the #24 RaptorTough.com Chevrolet, drives during the NASCAR Cup Series Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 400 at Martinsville Speedway on April 09, 2022 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
MARTINSVILLE, VIRGINIA - APRIL 09: William Byron, driver of the #24 RaptorTough.com Chevrolet, drives during the NASCAR Cup Series Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 400 at Martinsville Speedway on April 09, 2022 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

William Byron won an uneventful Cup Series race at Martinsville for his second win of 2022 on Saturday night.

Byron ran second to teammate Chase Elliott for the first half of the race but got past Elliott on pit road between the second and third stages. Byron then kept the lead for basically the rest of the race — sans green-flag pit stops — and easily beat Austin Dillon and Joey Logano for the win on a green-white checker restart.

The race featured just two cautions that wasn’t a stage caution. The first was officially for Denny Hamlin’s stalled car with less than 100 laps to go and the second quickly came when Todd Gilliland bounced off the wall and kept going with less than 10 laps to go. No one else crashed. No one spun. That’s a Martinsville rarity. Thankfully this race was scheduled for 400 laps instead of 500 laps like it was a year ago.

Green-flag pit stops are a Martinsville rarity too. Those happened in the final stage of the race since there were no cautions. Byron lost the lead when he pitted but got it back 17 laps later. There were no passes for the lead under green outside of that green-flag pit stop cycle.

Byron’s first win of the season came at Atlanta and he’s now the first driver to win multiple races in 2022. The first seven races of the 2022 season featured seven winners as teams have been learning the intricacies of the new car introduced by NASCAR ahead of the 2022 season.

The race was the ultimate test for NASCAR’s constant push that everything is amazing. Because, well, this race wasn’t amazing. Hendrick Motorsports certainly was. Its drivers led basically the entire race. But drivers throughout the field appeared to have an extremely hard time passing each other at a track that typically produces some of the most entertaining racing in the Cup Series.

There was bound to be a terrible race this Cup Series season. For the most part, NASCAR’s new car had produced entertaining racing and passing in 2022. But for whatever reason, Saturday night’s race at Martinsville was a stinker.

Stinkers happen. Not every race or game can be good — it’s what makes the great ones great. If everything is great, nothing is great. We can say with certainty that a NASCAR race happened on Saturday night. Byron completed 403 laps and drove just over 200 miles at a historic track located in Virginia. And that’s about all you need to know.

Race results

1. William Byron

2. Joey Logano

3. Austin Dillon

4. Ryan Blaney

5. Ross Chastain

6. Kurt Busch

7. Kyle Busch

8. Aric Almirola

9. Chase Briscoe

10. Chase Elliott

11. Austin Cindric

12. Alex Bowman

13. Erik Jones

14. Kevin Harvick

15. Chris Buescher

16. Bubba Wallace

17. Brad Keselowski

18. Tyler Reddick

19. Kyle Larson

20. Christopher Bell

21. Cole Custer

22. Martin Truex Jr.

23. Ty Dillon

24. AJ Allmendinger

25. Michael McDowell

26. Harrison Burton

27. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

28. Denny Hamlin

29. Daniel Suarez

30. Todd Gilliland

31. Justin Haley

32. Corey LaJoie

33. Cody Ware

34. JJ Yeley

35. Josh BIlicki

36. BJ McLeod