Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski took a coveted victory at NASCAR’s oldest track Sunday, winning the STP 500 from Martinsville Speedway and beating reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champ Kyle Busch to the finish line by 1.806 seconds.
The 500 lap race saw 14 caution periods for a total of 95 laps, with Keselowki and Busch trading places for first following the final yellow flag on Lap 444. Keselowski took the lead for good on Lap 458, with Busch quickly fading after leading a race-high 274 laps. The result was another in a string of near-miss losses for Busch.
“All we did was put four tires on it, and it went to junk,” Busch told NASCAR.com post-race. “I hate 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.”
Keselowski’s race got off to a poor start, with the Ford driver taking a speeding penalty on Lap 72 that sent him to the rear of the field. His team then made a wise call to stay out under yellow on lap 109, electing to take track position over fresh tires and going on to give Ford its first win at Martinsville since Kurt Busch in 2002.
“This track is 70 years old and a lot of legends have won here,” he said. “It feels great to be able to join them and bring home 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 cool to get one of them from back home.”