Keselowski picks up second win of 2017


By Daniel Courson and Dominic Aragon
April 2, 2017

MARTINSVILLE, Va.—Brad Keselowski led the final 43 laps en route to victory in the STP 500 Sunday at Martinsville Speedway Sunday, his second victory of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.

Leading a total of 116 laps, Keselowski won his second race in the last five MENCS races.

“The two wins this year have both come at tracks that I haven't won at before and we haven't won at as a team before,” Keselowski said post-race in the media center. “So, certainly that feels really good to be able to check something off the list.”

STAGE ONE

Pole sitter and last week’s winner Kyle Larson led the opening 23 laps.


The first caution of the day came on lap 71 when Ricky Stenhouse Jr. spun in Turn 3 after making contact with Paul Menard.

First and second place Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano led the field down to pit road. Keselowski was caught speeding, and Logano’s crew was penalized for crew coming over the wall too soon.

They restarted 26th and 27th respectively. Keselowski led 48 laps in the first stage.

The race resumed on lap 77.

Jamie McMurray received a tire rub after making contact with Jimmie Johnson, resulting in a McMurray spin on lap 108.

Under the corresponding caution period, Martin Truex Jr., Johnson, Keselowski, and Ty Dillon stayed out with 20 laps remaining in the stage.

Additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. spun out on lap 124, bringing out the third caution of the day.


Truex held on to win the stage and secure one playoff points. Denny Hamlin was second and Kyle Busch was third.

STAGE TWO
27 cars restarted on the lead lap with Kyle Busch and Chase Elliott leading the field to the green on lap 142.


Kyle Busch set a blistering pace in the second stage, holding a multi-second lead and leading 108 laps.

Busch was moved by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. on the final lap of the stage, who was trying to stay on the lead lap, giving the stage win to Chase Elliott.

STAGE THREE
In the final stage, 18 cars restarted the race on lead lap with Busch and Elliott once again leading the field to the green on lap 274.


The caution flag flew once again on lap 279 for debris in Turn 2. Kyle Larson won the free pass.


The race went green for six laps before the caution came out once again on lap 297 for an accident in Turn 3 involving Kurt Busch, Daniel Suarez, and A.J. Allmendinger.


Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch exchanged the lead officially five times in the final 160 laps of the race.

Keselowski won the race by a margin of 1.806 seconds over Kyle Busch.


OVERALL
The win was the 23rd career MENCS victory for Keselowski.

The race’s 14 cautions are the most of any MENCS race this season.

Seven drivers led a lap in this race, with Kyle Busch leading the most at 274.

The highest finishing rookie was Erik Jones in 12th.

33 drivers were running at the finish with 20 cars scored on the lead lap.

SOURCES
Racing-Reference.info

IMAGES
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

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