Brad Keselowski holds off Kyle Busch for STP 500 win at Martinsville Speedway
MARTINSVILLE, Va. (WSET/Martinsville Speedway) - For the first time since 2002, a Ford found its way to victory lane at Martinsville Speedway in a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, as Brad Keselowski piloted his No. 2 Fusion to the win in Sunday’s STP 500.
Keselowski eventually got the best of, and held off, Kyle Busch in a thrilling final stage battle to win the STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday afternoon, in car owner Roger Penske’s 1,000th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race.
“Martinsville is a special track,” Keselowski said. “70th anniversary, this place has been here forever and to win here is very special. It’s a track that brings you back to legends of the sport. To be able to join them being a victor here at Martinsville is truly an honor for me and the whole team.”
Chase Elliott, who won Saturday’s Alpha Energy Solution 250, finished third. Joey Logano came home fourth and Austin Dillon finished fifth.
Martin Truex Jr. won the opening 130-lap stage, his series-leading fifth stage win of the young season.
Kyle Busch appeared to be well on his way to winning Stage 2, but fell victim to a turn four tap from Ricky Stenhouse Jr., allowing Elliott to sneak by and snag a precious playoff point.
Busch, who won last April’s STP 500, led the most laps on Sunday, but faded late after taking four tires on his final pit stop and seeing his car’s performance decline as a result.
“I was just grasping for straws,” Busch said. “Our car definitely changed there for the last run of the race and we just didn’t have what we needed in order to have the speed that we had all the rest of the day.”
When Busch faltered late, Keselowski took advantage.
“[Kyle] did a heck of a job; had a heck of a car,” Keselowski said. “It seemed like he was a little better on the short run and I was a little better on the long run. It was just a matter of how the race was going to play out between the two there. We got a little bit of a long run there at the end and I just tried to bide my time and got by him when he started to fall off and shot away.”
The race was slowed for caution 14 times and there were 18 lead changes among seven drivers.
Racing returns to Martinsville Speedway this fall.
First, the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 NASCAR’s biggest, richest, most prestigious and, now, brightest, Late Model Stock Car race, is on September 23.
The race is the first to run under the track’s brand new, state-of-the-art LED lighting system.
NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series return to Martinsville October 27-29, for the Alpha Energy Solutions 200 and the Old Dominion 500.