Time is right for Keselowski, Ford in Martinsville triumph

Brad Keselowski finally wins at Martinsville, a race that is special to him for more than one reason

Michael Thomas Shroyer—X02835
Apr 2

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Brad Keselowski snapped a 28-race losing streak for Ford at Martinsville that dated back to the 2002 season by holding off Kyle Busch in the closing laps. The win was Keselowski’s first at Martinsville after collecting four top-five results in the last seven races at the track.”Martinsville is just one of those champion’s tracks,” Keselowski said in Victory Lane on Fox Sports 1. “The guys that run well everywhere run well here, and it’s really just an honor to win here and get to compete here. This track is 70 years old and a lot of legends have won here. It feels great to be able to join them and bring home a clock.”In the process, Keselowski became the first multi-race winner of the 2017 NASCAR Cup season on Sunday with his victory in the STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway, adding to his win at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 5.He also posted his fifth consecutive top-five finish, with his 27th-place result in the Daytona 500 at the start of the season remaining his only finish outside the top five. But bringing a Grandfather Clock home from Martinsville was special for more than one reason for the Michigan native.”A lot of people don’t know this, but those clocks are built in my hometown in Rochester Hills, Michigan, so it’s cool to get one of them from back home,” Keselowski said. “I have one as a truck owner, but not as a driver, so I’m glad to bring one back as a driver. “Probably more than anything else I’m really proud, you hear it all the time about the boys back at the shop, but Team Penske has put so much effort in these Martinsville cars the last three or four years because we knew it was one of our weakest tracks, and finally we got the result they deserve.”Keselowski didn’t just celebrate in Victory Lane, though. He decided to share this one with the fans, too.C'mon all you Brad haters this is awesome. pic.twitter.com/sbbe4JtK8m— Josh Richter (@JoshRichter) April 2, 2017
Busch took runner-up honors after leading more than half the race distance. After Busch dominated the second stage of the race and continued to run up front in the third stage, he and Keselowski battled for the lead after a restart following a lap-431 caution. The two traded the lead back-and-forth multiple times before Keselowski took command of the race by lap 460 of the 500-lap event and began to pull away.Chase Elliott finished third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate, Joey Logano, drove from the back to the front of the field twice to finish fourth after being two laps down at one point in the race, giving car owner Roger Penske two top-fives in his 1000th NASCAR Cup Series race.Austin Dillon rounded out the top five.The yellow flag waved 14 times during the race, with nine of those cautions coming after the restart at the beginning of the third and final stage of the race. The 13th caution, coming out with 80 laps to go, was for an eight-car incident involving Denny Hamlin, Danica Patrick, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Aric Almirola, A.J. Allmendinger, Trevor Bayne, Ty Dillon and Paul Menard.Martin Truex Jr. and Elliott were winners in the first two 130-lap stages of the race, with Truex taking the stage win and Elliott winning stage two. Here’s a look at the full results from the STP 500 in Martinsville:Brad KeselowskiKyle BuschChase ElliottJoey LoganoAustin DillonA.J. AllmendingerClint BowyerRyan NewmanMatt KensethRicky Stenhouse Jr.Chris BuescherErik JonesTrevor BayneKasey KahneJimmie JohnsonMartin Truex Jr.Kyle LarsonAric AlmirolaPaul MenardKevin HarvickCole WhittTy DillonDanica PatrickDavid RaganRyan BlaneyMichael McDowellLandon CassillCorey LaJoieGray GauldingDenny HamlinReed SorensonDaniel SuarezTimmy HillDale Earnhardt Jr.Matt DiBenedettoJeffrey EarnhardtKurt BuschJamie McMurray