NASCAR travels to Martinsville for the NOCO 400 on Sunday, April 16th. The race will be broadcast live on fuboTV (free trial).
Chase Elliott returns to racing this weekend at Martinsville Speedway with only one thing on his mind: to win.
And that approach won’t change for the rest of the season.
Elliott has missed the last six races of the Cup Series after breaking his leg in a freak snowboarding accident in Colorado, leaving him so far behind in the points race that his only realistic chance of making the NASCAR playoffs is to win a race.
He didn’t help himself much on Saturday as he starts 24th and sets the tenth fastest practice lap. But he said after qualifying: “I feel good in the car.”
Elliott was granted a dispensation allowing him to compete for the Cup Championship, although his injury did not occur at the track.
Elliott said while the setup of his No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro and his driving style will not change, the overall strategy for how his team approaches Sunday’s 400-lap race will be different.
When is the NOCO 400 coming?
The NOCO 400 in Martinsville is scheduled for Sunday, April 16 at 2:00 p.m. (3:00 p.m. ET).
The game is streamed live on fuboTV, which offers a free trial. The most basic plan is the “fubo pro” package, which includes 146+ channels for $74.99 per month. As with all cord cutting alternatives, there are many options, especially for sports. It comes with 1,000+ hours of cloud-based DVR and up to 10 screens simultaneously.
There is also the “fubo elite” package which includes 205+ channels for $84.99 per month. It comes with fuboExtra (48 more channels) and News Plus (11 more channels). Plus 1,000+ hours of cloud-based DVR and up to 10 screens simultaneously.
The fubo Premiere package is fubo elite with the addition of Showtime for $94.99 per month.
What TV channel is the game on?
The NOCO 400 in Martinsville will be broadcast on FS1.
HAIL MELON: When NASCAR last pitted in Martinsville in October, Ross Chastain pulled off an impressive video game move when he intentionally went over the perimeter wall on turns three and four on the final lap, handing his #1 Chevrolet to Denny Hamlin line to earn a spot in NASCAR’s “Final Four.”
It was a bold move that quickly became known as “Hail Melon,” garnering more than 225 million views and 1.2 billion impressions.
While NASCAR has since banned the wall-racing move, the eighth-generation watermelon farmer has been invited to return to the track to help remove the “Martinsv” section of the wall, which will remain as part of the story.
“It was a life-changing moment for me and my team,” Chastain said Saturday. “We will continue to feel the benefits of this for years to come.”
BYRON’S MEMORY TRAIL: William Byron returns to the .526-mile oval track in the form of a paper clip where he watched his first NASCAR race as a youngster and fell in love with the sport.
It’s also the same track he won at last spring and dedicated the win to his mother, who suffered stroke-like symptoms during the 2021 race in Martinsville and had to be transported back to Charlotte, North Carolina.
She was treated for a brain tumor and is in remission.
“It’s been two years now. It’s quite amazing that she’s doing well and all of those things are kind of a thing of the past,” said Byron, the only Cup driver with multiple wins this season. “It’s good to hopefully have her there this weekend and to think of the positive memory we made last year.”
BRISCOE’S SURGERY: This will be the last race for Chase Briscoe before he undergoes surgery to repair his broken left middle finger.
Briscoe will wear a split in Martinsville this week but revealed on social media that he will need surgery to insert pins and bars. He doesn’t expect to miss races, although it’s unclear how the injury will affect his driving.
“Still broken and sore,” Briscoe tweeted.
He also posted an X-ray of his finger, which clearly showed a fracture.
RING THE BELL: Cup Series points leader Christopher Bell clinched a big win at Bristol last week, his fifth career win in 116 career starts. This makes him the second fastest active driver with five wins behind only Brad Keselowski, who has eight wins in his first 116 races.
“It’s shocking to me,” said Bell, who won last year’s fall race in Martinsville. “I’ve obviously idolized a lot of the greats of the sport and to see my name up there with them is really special. . … But you’re only as good as your last race, so we can’t go to Martinsville and drop the ball.”
GOODS REPLACEMENT: Zane Smith will drive the No. 51 Ford for Rick Ware Racing this weekend after Cody Ware was suspended indefinitely from NASCAR on Monday after being charged with assaulting a woman and assault by strangulation, leaving him with serious injuries.
This will be Smith’s fifth career Cup start. He has nine career wins, including two this season, in the Truck Series. It’s unclear if he will drive the No. 51 beyond this week.
Matt Crafton filled in for Ware in Bristol last week.
BITS AND PIECES: According to FanDuel Sportsbook, Byron is the clear favorite, repeating the spring race in Martinsville 6-1, followed by Kyle Larson (11-2) and Bell (7-1).
The Associated Press contributed to this report.