Brad Keselowski ends Ford drought with Martinsville Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series triumph

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Source:   —  April 02, 2017, at 8:05 PM

two Ford. Yes, that’s right, a Ford. The car maker found Triumph Lane at the .526-mile brief track for the first time since Oct. twenty, two thousand two, when Kurt Busch won at NASCAR’s oldest and smallest premier series track in a Roush Fenway Racing Ford.

Brad Keselowski ends Ford drought with Martinsville Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series triumph

In Sun’s STP five hundred Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway, everything worked – but nothing more than Brad Keselowski’s race-winning No. two Ford.

Yes, that’s right, a Ford. The car maker found Triumph Lane at the .526-mile brief track for the first time since Oct. twenty, two thousand two, when Kurt Busch won at NASCAR’s oldest and smallest premier series track in a Roush Fenway Racing Ford.

Keselowski and runner-up Kyle Busch swapped the lead during the final 64-lap green-flag run, with Busch taking the point on Lap four hundred forty-four of five hundred, and Keselowski powering back past Busch’s No. eighteen Toyota on Lap four hundred fifty-eight. From that point, Keselowski pulled far to win by one.806 seconds, as Busch lost the long-run speed he'd demonstrated for most of the afternoon.

“This is awesome,” said Keselowski, the season’s first two-time winner. “We’ve ran so excellent here with the Miller Lite Ford, but something always happens and we refuge’t been able to bring it home. Martinsville is just one of those champions’ tracks. The guys that running well everywhere running well here, and it’s really just an honor to win here and obtain to compete here.

“This track is seventy years elderly and a lot of legends have won here. It feels grand to be able to connect them and bring residence a (grandfather) clock (trophy). A lot of people don’t know this, but those clocks are built in my hometown in Rochester Hills, Michigan, so it’s chilly to obtain one of them from back home. I've one as a truck owner, but not as a driver, so I’m happy to bring one back as a driver…

“I don’t love to hold trophies at my house, but this one’s going to my house. That’s how special it is.”

The triumph was Keselowski’s twenty-third in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, and it vaulted him into the playoff points lead with ten. In the series standings, Keselowski leaves Martinsville in fourth place, thirty-four points behind boss Kyle Larson and thirty behind second-place Chase Elliott, who parlayed a front-row starting position into a third-place finish.

Fourteen cautions for ninety-five laps punctuated an action-filled afternoon that featured remarkable comebacks, perfect weather, Ford board member and namesake Edsel Ford II in the pace car and a tire combination that started to open up the exterior lane and alleviate passing on the high side.

Keselowski had to overcome his own challenges. A speeding penalty below caution on lap seventy-two sent him to the rear of the field, but pit strategy – staying out below yellow on Lap one hundred nine – got him back to the front. Joey Logano, Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate, overcame both a pit road penalty and a slice tire that keep him two laps down to finish fourth.

Austin Dillon ran fifth, posting his first top-five finish since a fourth-place running at Bristol last August.

Busch, who led a race-high two hundred seventy-four laps to Keselowski’s one hundred sixteen, was disappointed that the performance of his Camry fell off after his final pit stop on Lap 336.

“All we did was keep four tires on it, and it went to junk,” Busch said. “I detest it for our guys. They’ve deserved all year much better finishes than what we’ve been able to produce, and here’s another one today. Just a frustrating season so far, but we give it everything we got. We do all we can with what we’re given at the specific time and attempt to perform and do a good job.

“My pit crew did grand today. (Crew chief) Adam (Stevens) and the guys did an awesome work on this car this weekend to obtain it to where it was. We were lights out faster than those guys after twenty laps or so. There on that running it was at minimum at minimum three tenths slower the all time, and that’s why Brad just was able to drive far there at the end. We were really really, really struggling. I’m surprised I held off the twenty-four (Elliott), but you know, overall, just not quite getting the finishes we need.”

Martin Truex Jr. won the first stage to bring his playoff point total to nine, second only to Keselowski. By the finish of Stage two, which featured a 119-lap green-flag run, the intensity had ratcheted up considerably.

Coming to the green/checkers on Lap two hundred sixty, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who'd just been lapped, gave race boss Kyle Busch a couple of sharp taps with his bumper, sending Busch toward the top of the track. Elliott powered to the interior off Turn four, edging Busch for the stage win at the stripe.

But Keselowski and Busch dominated the proceedings from then on, with Keselowski winning the clock and Ford finding the winner’s circle after a twenty-eight-race drought at the vaunted short track.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race Results- STP five hundred

Martinsville Speedway

Martinsville, Virginia

Sunday, April two, two thousand seventeen

one. (four) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 500.

two. (ten) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 500.

three. (two) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 500.

four. (five) Joey Logano, Ford, 500.

five. (twenty) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 500.

six. (thirty) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 500.

seven. (eight) Clint Bowyer, Ford, 500.

eight. (eleven) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 500.

nine. (twenty-five) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 500.

ten. (twenty-four) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 500.

eleven. (thirty-three) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 500.

twelve. (fifteen) Erik Jones #, Toyota, 500.

thirteen. (sixteen) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 500.

fourteen. (thirteen) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 500.

fifteen. (seventeen) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 500.

sixteen. (three) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 500.

seventeen. (one) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 500.

eighteen. (eighteen) Aric Almirola, Ford, 500.

nineteen. (twenty-two) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 500.

twenty. (nine) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 500.

twenty-one. (thirty-one) Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, 499.

twenty-two. (twenty-three) Ty Dillon #, Chevrolet, 499.

twenty-three. (twenty-nine) Danica Patrick, Ford, 499.

twenty-four. (thirty-four) David Ragan, Ford, 498.

twenty-five. (seven) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 498.

twenty-six. (twenty-six) Michael McDowell, Chevrolet, 497.

twenty-seven. (twenty-seven) Landon Cassill, Ford, 497.

twenty-eight. (thirty-five) * Corey LaJoie #, Toyota, 496.

twenty-nine. (thirty-seven) Gray Gaulding #, Toyota, 495.

thirty. (twelve) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 493.

thirty-one. (thirty-two) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 492.

thirty-two. (nineteen) Daniel Suarez #, Toyota, 489.

thirty-three. (thirty-eight) * Timmy Hill(i), Chevrolet, 486.

thirty-four. (twenty-one) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, Accident, 418.

thirty-five. (28) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, Accident, 401.

thirty-six. (thirty-six) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet, Accident, 385.

thirty-seven. (fourteen) Kurt Busch, Ford, Accident, 295.

thirty-eight. (six) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, Accident, 105.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 70.139 mph.

Time of Race: three Hrs, forty-four Mins, fifty-nine Secs. Edge of Victory: one.806 Seconds.

Caution Flags: fourteen for ninety-five laps.

Lead Changes: eighteen among seven drivers.

Lap Leaders: K. Larson one-twenty-three; B. Keselowski twenty-four-71; J. Logano seventy-two; M. Truex Jr. 73-88; D. Hamlin 89-108; Kyle Busch one hundred nine; M. Truex Jr. 110-135; Kyle Busch 136-144; C. Elliott 145-151; Kyle Busch 152-259; C. Elliott 260-272; Kyle Busch 273-336; D. Hamlin 337-340; Kyle Busch 341-405; B. Keselowski 406-415; Kyle Busch 416-428; B. Keselowski 429-443; Kyle Busch 444-457; B. Keselowski 458-500.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Kyle Busch seven times for two hundred seventy-four laps; B. Keselowski four times for one hundred sixteen laps; M. Truex Jr. two times for forty-two laps; D. Hamlin two times for 24 laps; K. Larson one time for 23 laps; C. Elliott two times for twenty laps; J. Logano 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 78.11.18.two,24.42.21.48.3,fourteen

Stage #2 Top Ten: 24.18.2,48.21.88.20.77.6,five

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