NASCAR: STP500 in Martinsville

The west coast swing is complete and NASCAR heads back east with the first short track race of the season, the STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Virginia. The drivers will make 500 laps around the half mile track for a total of 263 miles.

1200px-Martinsville_Backstretch

Celebrating 70 years of racing this year, Martinsville is one of the oldest tracks on the NASCAR circuit. In fact, drivers were racing around the paperclip shaped track even before there was a NASCAR.

Stages one and two of the race will be 130 lpas each with stage three lasting 240 laps.

After qualifying was rained out, the starting grid has been set by car owner points putting last week’s winner Kyle Larson on the pole with Chase Elliottt starting alongside on the front row after winning the Camping World Truck race on Saturday.

Only 38 drivers are running in the race today.

The starting lineup for the STP 500:
Kyle Larson
Chase Elliott
Martin Truex Jr
Brad Keselowski
Joey Logano
Jamie McMurray
Ryan Blaney
Clint Bowyer
Kevin Harvick
Kyle Busch
Ryan Newman
Denny Hamlin
Kasey Kahne
Kurt Busch
Erik Jones
Trevor Bayne
Jimmie Johnson
Aric Almirola
Daniel Suarez – moved to the back of the field in a back up car.
Austin Dillon
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Paul Menard
Ty Dillon
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Matt Kenseth
Michael McDowell
Landon Cassill
Matt DiBenedetto
Danica Patrick
AJ Allmendinger
Cole Whitt
Reed Sorenson
Chris Buescher
David Ragan
Corey LaJoie
Jeffrey Earnhardt
Gray Gaulding
Timmy Hill

The winner of today’s race will take home of the most treasured trophies in NASCAR a grandfather clock.

Kyle Larson brings the field down for the green flag and from the outside lane, he takes the lead of the race.

Chase Elliott and Brad Keselowski make contact but the track stays green.

Jamie McMurray has some significant damage to his car.

On lap four Kyle Larson has already pulled out to a lead of over a second and is pulling away.

Lap seven Jimmie Johnson also has damage to his car.

All through the field drivers are beating and banging on each other.

Even with a damaged car, Jamie McMurray is closing Kyle Larson’s lead. Larson’s lead is down to less than a second.

The drivers are running laps around the track in about 20 seconds. It will not take long for the leader to start lapping cars.

Lap 24 Brad Keselowski takes over the lead of the race.

Lap 25 the leader has begun passing slower traffic; there are now 36 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 29 Brad Keselowski has pulled out to a lead of over a second and a half over secnod place driver Martn Truex Jr. Kyle Larson has fallen back to fifth.

Lap 36 Brad Keselowski continues to hold a lead of over a secnd…and lap cars; there are 33 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 43 Brad Keselowski has increased his lead to nearly two seconds, there are 31 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 48 Brad K. continues to lead the race but Kyle Larson is moving through the field passing on the outside.

Lap 55, with a lead of nearly two seconds, Brad K. continues to lap cars; there are 27 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 59 Brad K. has a lead of 1.72 seconds; there are 26 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 62 Brad K. now has a two second lead on second place driver Joey Logano; there are 25 cars on the lead lap.

Even with front end damage, Jimmie Johnson has broken into the top 10.

Lap 65 Brad K. continues to lead the race by over a second and a half; there are 25 cars on the lead lap.

The first caution flag of the race comes out on lap 70 when Ricky Stenhouse Jr comes around in a slow spin after making contact with Paul Menard. Ty Dillon is the “lucky dog”.

The drivers bring their cars down pit road for service and adjustments.

Brad Keselowski leads the race off of pit road.

Brad K and Michael McDowell were caught speeding on pit road. Joey Logano was penalized for the jack man coming over the pit wall too soon.

Martin Truex Jr brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 77.

After restarting in 20th place, Ryan Blaney is in the top 10 on lap 85.

Less than 100 laps have been run in the 500 lap race and the drivers are getting very aggressive.

Lap 88 Denny Hamlin takes over the lead from Martin Truex Jr.

Lap 100 Denny Hamlin has a lead of less than half a second on Martin Truex Jr. Jamie McMurray’s car is smoking – possible cut tire. There are 28 cars on the lead lap.

Jamie McMurray brings out the second caution flag of the race when his smoking tire blew and hit the wall on lap 106. Jamie has significant damage to his car. New NASCAR rules state that no more garage repairs for wrecks, he has five minutes on pit road to make repairs. Jamie is out of the car and head to the ambulance and the infield care center.

When pit road opens some of the drivers bring their cars down pit road for service.

Race leader Martin Truex Jr stayed out.

Kyle Busch has a rough pit stop and comes out in ninth. Jamie McMurray’s car is being towed off the track. He becomes the first driver out of the race.

Martin Truex Jr brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 116 and holds on to the lead.

The third caution flag comes out on lap 123 when Dale Earnhardt Jr spins out after making contact with Ryan Blaney cutting a tire. Junior took responsibility for the incident.

On a quickie yellow, the drivers come down pit road for service.

Dale Jr is on the five minute clock. He has five minutes to make repairs and keep the car at minimum speed. Dale Jr is already back on the track and on the lead lap.

Martin Truex Jr brings the field down for the green flag restart with only three laps remaining in stage one.

Martin Truex Jr wins stage one. It is Truex’s fourth stage win this season.

MartinTruexJrAugust2007

The top 10 after stage one:
Martin Truex Jr
Denny Hamlin
Kyle Busch
Brad Keselowski
Chase Elliott
Kyle Larson
Ryan Blaney
Jimmie Johnson
Austin Dillon
Clint Bowyer

When pit road opens some of the drivers stay out while other come down for service.

Austin Dillon wins the race off of pit road after taking only two tires, but will restart in 14th behind all the drivers who stayed out on the track.

Kyle Busch brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 142.

Daniel Suarez has heavy smoke coming from a tire and has to make an unscheduled stop on pit road.

Chase Elliott passes Kyle Busch to take over the lead of the race on lap 146.

Lap 152 Kyle Busch retakes the lead of the race.

Lap 159 Kyle Busch has a lead of a half a second over second place driver Chase Elliott.

Lap 163 Kyle Busch has increased his lead to nearly a second. Ryan Blaney has damage to his car and is contemplating whether to come down pit road.

Lap 177 Kyle Busch has a lead of nearly a second on second place driver Chase Elliott. After wrecking near the end of stage one, Dale Earnhardt Jr has moved into the top five.

Lap 190 Kyle Busch has increased his lead to over a second on second place driver Chase Elliott; there are 27 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 193 Kyle Busch is encountering slower traffic.

Lap 200 Kyle Busch continues to lead the race and has a lead of less than half a second in traffic; there are 26 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 203 Kyle Busch has increased his lead to a second over Chase Elliott; there are 23 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 205 Kevin Harvick – 23rd – goes one lap down as Kyle Busch continues to lead the race and increased his lead.

Lap 216 Kyle Busch continues to lead the race by over a second; there are 22 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 225 Kyle Busch has increased his lead to nearly two seconds over Chase Elliott; there are 19 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 230 Kyle Busch has a lead of over two seconds on Chase Elliott; there are 118 cars on the lead lap. Joey Logano brings his car down pit road for an unscheduled pit stop due to a cut tire. He is now two laps down.

Lap 235 Kyle Busch has pulled out to a lead of over two and a half seconds on Chase Elliott.

Lap 237 Busch’s lead is not over three seconds. There are 17 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 240 Kyle Busch’s lead is not over three and a half seconds.

Lap 245 Busch’s lead has increased to over four seconds; there are 17 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 250 Kyle Busch has a lead of nearly four seconds on second place driver Chase Elliott; there are 17 cars on the lead lap with 10 cars multiple laps down and only one car out of the race – Jamie McMurray.

Only four laps remaining in the stage the the cars in front of leader Kyle Busch are bunched up. Trying to avoid being lapped Ricky Stenhouse Jr has bumped lead Kyle Busch several times. Kyle Busch finally gets around Stenhouse but Stenhouse comes back to stay on the lead lap and allowing Chase Elliott to pass Kyle Busch for the lead.

Chase Elliott wins stage two.

Chase_Elliott_Road_America_2015

The top 10 at the end of stage two:
Chase Elliott
Kyle Busch
Brad Keselowski
Jimmie Johnson
Ryan Blaney
Dale Earnhardt Jr
Matt Kenseth
Erik Jones
Trevor Bayne
Kasey Kahne

On pit road Kyle Busch’s team has to do a little repair work on his cr. Ryan Blane has a bad pit stop with an air wrench issue and comes out in 17th.

Chase Elliott leads the race off of pit road.

Chase Elliott brings the field down for the green flag start of stage three on lap 274 but Kyle Busch takes over the lead of the race; but he has a tire rub and is smoking.

The caution flag comes out on lap 279 for debris on the track. There are only 18 cars on the lead lap. This will be a quickie yellow.

Kyle Busch stayed out and brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 284 and holds on to the lead of the race.

Lap 289 Kyle Busch has pulled out to a lead of over a second and a half.

The seventh caution flag comes out on lap 290 for a crash involving Austin Dillon, Daniel Suarez, Ryah Blaney, Kurt Busch, and Erik Jones. Kurt Busch and Daniel Suarez are on the five minute clock. Danica Patrick is the “lucky dog”.

Kyle Busch brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 294 and pulls out in front of the field.

He eighth caution flag comes out on lap 296 when Kurt Busch cuts a tire and hits the wall. Kurt Busch becomes the second car out of the race. Aric Almirola is the “lucky dog”.

Kyle Busch brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 302 and pulls out in front of the field.

Ryan Blaney’s car has a smoking tire and has to bring his car down pit road. Joey Logano also has some fender damage but has not yet come down pit road.

The ninth caution flag comes out on lap 309 when Gray Gaulding spins out and brushes the wall. Chris Buescher and Dancia Patrick have been beating on each other for a number of laps. Joey Logano is the “lucky dog”.

Kyle Busch brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 314 and pulls out in front of the field.

Lap 318 Kyle Busch has a lead of over half a second on second place driver Brad Keselowski.

Lap 330 Kyle Busch has pulled out to a lead of nearly a second on Brad Keselowski.

Reed Sorenson brings out the tenth caution flag of the face when he blows a tire and spins out on lap 334. Paul Menard is the “lucky dog”.

Most of the lead lap cars come down pit road but Denny Hamlin and Ricky Stenhouse Jr stay out.

Kyle Busch leads the race off of pit road.

After staying out on the track Denny Hamlin brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 341 but gets passed by Kyle Busch to retake the lead.

With 150 laps remaining in the race Kyle Busch holds on to the lead by nearly a second over Chase Elliott while the drivers beat and bump behind him.

Lap 355 Kyle Busch’s lead is over a second on second place driver Chase Elliott.

Lap 365 Kyle Busch continues to lead, edging out a little further each lap.

Lap 368 Kyle Busch now has a lead of a second and a half lead on second place driver Chase Elliott.

Lap 380 Kyle Busch has again encountered slower traffic and is putting cars a lap down.

Erik Jones in on pit road for service and goes two laps down.

Lap 385 Kyle Busch how has a lead of nearly two seconds.

The eleventh caution flag of the race comes out on lap 392 when Jeffrey Earnhardt hits the wall. Kasey Kahne gets the “lucky dog” after just being passed by leader Kyle Busch.

Jimmie Johnson reports that he is struggling but doesn’t know why. He brings his car down pit road.

Kyle Busch lead the race off of pit road.

Aric Almirola, Trevor Bayne, and Dale Earnhardt Jr were caught speeding on pit road.

Eleven cars took the wave around.

Kyle Busch brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 399 and pulls out in front of second place driver Brad Keselowski to hold on to the lead.

Brad Keselowski is on Kyle Busch’s bumper, there is no pulling away this time. Keselowski challenges Busch and passes to take the lead on lap 405.

The twelfth caution comes out when Matt DiBenedetto spins out and slams the wall hard after cutting a tire. Kevin Harvick is the “lucky dog”.

Jimmie Johnson’s crew chief reports that the car issues are most likely due to damage to the exhaust pipes.

Brad Keselowski brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 414 and gets challenged immediately from Kyle Busch. Kyle Busch passes Brad K for the lead but Brad K is on his bumper.

Big crash on turn three on lap 418 involving Dale Earnhardt Jr, Danica Patrick, Denny Hamlin, AJ Allmendinger, Aric Almirola, Ty Dillon, and Kasey Kahne brings out the thirteenth caution flag of the day. Erik Jones is the “lucky dog”.

Dale Earnhardt Jr takes his car to the garage with radiator damage.

Kyle Busch brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 426 and edges out Brad Keselowski for the lead.

Lap 429 Brad Keselwoski passes Kyle Busch for the lead.

Martin Truex Jr brings out the fourteenth caution of the race on lap 431 when he spins out after making a bit of contact with Matt Kenseth. Cole Whitt is the “lucky dog”.

Brad Keselowski brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 437 and edges out Kyle Busch for lead of the race.

Kyle Busch is on Brad Keselowski’s bumper challenging for the lead.

On lap 443 Kyle Busch gets alongside Brad Keselowski and edges out for the lead but Brad K continues to challenge Kyle Busch.

Lap 450 Brad K is still riding on Kyle Busch’s bumper challenging for the lead.

Lap 557 Brad K passes Kyle Busch for the lead but Kyle stays close as they encounter lapped traffic.

Lap 560 Brad K has pulled out to a lead of half a second on Kyle Busch.

Lap 465 Brad K has increased his lead to nearly a second.

Lap 470 Brad K continues to lead and has pulled out to a lead of over a second.

Twenty to go, Brad Keselowski has a lead of nearly a second and a half; there are five cars out of the race.

Fifteen laps to go and Brad K has pulled out to a lead of nearly two seconds over Kyle Busch.

Ten to go and Brad K is still out in front.

Kyle Larson is having battery issues and is falling back in the field as he loses power. His crew chief told him to switch batteries.

Brad Keselowski takes the white flag.

With a lead of tow seconds, Brad Keselowski win the the STP 500. It is the first win for Ford in 15 years. Brad is the first driver to win more than one race in the 2017 season.

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The unofficial results of the STP 500:
Brad Keselowski
Kyle Busch
Chase Elliott
Joey Logano
Austin Dillon
AJ Allmendinger
Clint Bowyer
Ryan Newman
Matt Kenseth
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Chris Buescher
Erik Jones
Trevor Bayne
Kasey Kahne
Jimmie Johnson
Martin Truex Jr
Kyle Larson
Aric Almirola
Paul Menard
Kevin Harvick
Cole Whitt
Ty Dillon
Danica Patrick
David Ragan
Ryan Blaney
Michael McDowell
Landon Cassill
Corey LaJoie
Gray Gaulding
Denny Hamlin
Reed Sorenson
Daniel Suarez
Timmy Hill
Dale Earnhart Jr
Matt DiBenedetto
Jeffrey Earnhardt
Kurt Busch
Jamie McMurray

photos courtesy of:
By Art10 – en.wp (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Martinsville_Backstretch.JPG), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3248946

By Royalbroil – cropped from Image:RobbyGordonMartinTruexJr.jpg, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2718056

By Royalbroil – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42901125

By Sarah Stierch – Own work, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41292737


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