Darlington Raceway – the 1.3-mile egg-shaped track in Darlington, South Carolina – is often referred to as the track “Too Tough To Tame” due to many factors. For starters, in order to get the most speed out of the car, drivers typically run within inches of the outside wall. This usually results in the car either getting loose and spinning or getting too close and scraping the wall, earning what is known as a “Darlington Stripe” on the right side of the car. The nickname also comes from the worn-out racing surface that is hard on tires and causes quick fall-off in terms of speed and lap times. Despite all this, Martin Truex Jr was able to dominate on Sunday, proving that sometimes the infamously difficult track can indeed be tamed. 

PACE LAPS: Chase Elliott and Aric Almirola were sent to the rear of the field for unapproved adjustments.  

LAP 1: Brad Keselowski led the field to green, having secured pole position due to NASCAR’s starting grid formula. When the flag dropped, Keselowski was able to pull ahead of second-place starter, Kevin Harvick, to take the top spot. 

CAUTION – LAP 7: The yellow came out early when the #10 of Aric Almirola got loose coming out of Turn 2 and was hit from behind by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Almirola spun and made heavy contact with the inside wall that crunched the front of his Ford Mustang to the point where the front tires weren’t even on the ground. Almirola was out of the race and was not injured in the collision. 

LAP 10: On the restart, Keselowski started to have issues with his #2 Ford and fell back to 9th place. Harvick took over the lead but was quickly overtaken by last week’s winner, Kyle Busch. 

CAUTION – LAP 21: The cords on the right-front tire of Kyle Busch’s #18 Toyota Camry began to shred just as he was passed by Martin Truex Jr, which made him loose.  Busch got into the outside wall and spun towards the bottom of the track. Busch sustained minimal damage to the right-rear quarter panel but was able to make repairs, stay on the lead lap, and continue racing. 

LAP 61: Martin Truex gave up the lead to make a pit stop for fresh tires and fuel, but cycled back to the lead once other cars made their stops.   

STAGE 1 END – LAP 90: Truex won the stage and picked up the playoff point. His teammate Denny Hamlin, finished the stage in second place, followed by Tyler Reddick, Kyle Larson, and Kevin Harvick. 

CAUTION – LAP 99: The #38 of Anthony Alfredo got loose and turned sideways into the side of Cole Custer. This pushed Custer’s #41 into the inside wall, in the exact same way as his teammate, Aric Almirola, which resulted in the same damage. 

CAUTION – LAP 106: While racing for the free pass position, Bubba Wallace made contact with the back of Kurt Busch, which caused Busch to spin and hit the inside wall on the front stretch. Busch was out of the race after his car briefly caught on fire after the impact. 

LAP 145: Green flag pit stops began with Martin Truex Jr once again surrendering the lead to make his stop. Once the field cycled through, Truex reclaimed the top spot and gained a 12-second gap to second place. 

STAGE 2 END – LAP 185: Truex continued his dominance and won the second stage by over 14-seconds. Behind him, Kyle Busch, William Byron, Joey Logano, and Kyle Larson completed the Top 5. Truex remained in the lead even after the stage break. 

Without a caution in the final stage, no driver was able to challenge Truex for the lead. This allowed him to pace the field for the entirety of the stage, with the exception of when he made his final pit stop. 

CHECKERED FLAG – LAP 293: Martin Truex Jr crossed the line to claim his 3rd win of the 2021 season. Truex led a race-high 248 laps. 


  1. Martin Truex Jr
  2. Kyle Larson
  3. Kyle Busch
  4. William Byron
  5. Denny Hamlin
  6. Kevin Harvick
  7. Chase Elliott
  8. Ryan Blaney
  9. Chris Buescher
  10. Ryan Newman
  11. Chase Briscoe
  12. Tyler Reddick
  13. Joey Logano
  14. Christopher Bell 
  15. Ross Chastain
  16. Austin Dillon
  17. Alex Bowman
  18. Erik Jones
  19. Matt DiBenedetoo
  20. Ricky Stenhouse Jr
  21. Bubba Wallace
  22. Corey lajoie
  23. Daniel Suarez
  24. Brad keselowski
  25. Ryan Preece 
  26. Anthony Alfredo
  27. Michael McDowell
  28. Justin Haley
  29. JJ Yeley
  30. Quin Houff
  31. James Davison
  32. BJ McLeod
  33. Josh Bilicki
  34. Cody Ware
  35. Kurt Busch
  36. Cole Custer
  37. Aric Almirola