NASCAR weekly: Confederate Flag banned, Harvick and Truex Jr. score race wins
Because of the anti-racist movements in the United States of America, NASCAR has also taken action and banned the Confederate Flag from its events – Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. win in Atlanta and Martinsville
NASCAR grew up in the southern states of the USA and many fans have raised the flag of the Confederate States of America during race weekends in the past. This will come to an end now! NASCAR has banned from its events the symbol that has been criticized for many decades in the USA for openly displaying racism. NASCAR has also allowed the peaceful protest to kneel during the national anthem.
Already during the Atlanta weekend there was a protest action against racism by NASCAR. During the pace laps, the cars were stopped and NASCAR President Steve Phelps addressed the drivers, teams and spectators in front of the TVs with clear words against racism. Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. drove in a “Black Lives Matter” car in Martinsville to also set an example against discrimination.
NASCAR Cup Series
Last Sunday, the NASCAR Cup Series race was held at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, the tyre-eating 1.5-mile oval in the state of Georgia. The two stage wins went to Martin Truex Jr., who scored full bonus points for the first time in 2020. But the race win went to Kevin Harvick. The Stewart Haas pilot dominated the decisive phase of the race and finished ahead of Kyle Busch, Truex Jr., Ryan Blaney and Denny Hamlin.
The race was very exhausting as the physical shape of Wallace Jr. showed after the race: The Petty driver collapsed briefly after the race at the pit wall. Afterwards he also fainted during an interview with Fox Sports. But after a medical check he was released from the care centre.
In the night from Wednesday to Thursday German time, important championship points were at stake for the NASCAR drivers and teams at the half mile oval of Martinsville. After a quiet first stage Joey Logano secured the bonus points. In the second segment Jimmie Johnson prevailed against his rivals to secure ten championship points and a playoff point.
In the final stage, Truex Jr. finally sped to the second Martinsville victory in his career. The Gibbs driver left Blaney, Brad Keselowski, Logano and Chase Elliott behind, who were completing the top 5. For Truex Jr. it was the first victory in the 2020 season that entitles him to participate in the playoffs.
Austin Dillon had to retire from the race early because it was very hot in his cockpit after he damaged his car and he had inhaled fumes. He had to be lifted out of the car and then he received medical treatment. As Wallace Jr., Dillon has already been cleared by the medical staff. Next Sunday, the NASCAR teams will head to the Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida.
NASCAR Xfinity Series
In Atlanta, the drivers and teams of the NASCAR Xfinity Series also went on the hunt for points. After Austin Cindric had won the first two stages, a true NASCAR veteran drove to victory on the 1.5 miles oval: A.J. Allmendinger. For him it was the first oval victory in an official NASCAR championship race.
Previously, Allmendinger, who has not been a full-time driver since the 2019 season, had only won NASCAR invitation races on an oval. In 2008 he took first place at the Sprint Showdown at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. In the 2018 season, another victory followed in Charlotte at the Monster Energy Open.
In the regular operation of the championships, the 38-year-old Californian was considered a true road course specialist. In the NASCAR Cup Series he took a race win at Watkins Glen and in the Xfinity Series, in addition to his newest triumph in Atlanta, he took three victories on road courses: at Elkhart Lake, Mid-Ohio and the Roval in Charlotte.
NASCAR Truck Series
The third national NASCAR league also delivered an exciting Atlanta race. In the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, Kyle Busch – who won both stages – looked like the winner for a long time, but the NASCAR veteran suffered several penalties in the last race segment because he sped in the pits.
Chase Elliott, who had won the truck race in Charlotte, was also back in the series and spun two laps before the end that caused an overtime finish. Austin Hill was in front at that point in the race, but Grant Enfinger made it from fifth place to the top after the restart and secured the victory in Atlanta.