Kyle Busch won Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway in a dominating fashion, as he led the most laps of the day. It was his first career Sprint Cup win at the track, and also gave him the weekend sweep, as he won the Trucks race on Saturday Afternoon.
Early Trouble For Dale Earnhardt Jr.
The first caution of the day came on Lap 6 when David Ragan got into the back of Dale Earnhardt Jr., sending him spinning into the outside wall. That put Earhardt Jr. down a lap, and it would be a while until he got back on the lead lap.
Kyle Busch Takes The Lead
Joey Logano led the field back to green on Lap 10. Paul Menard passed Logano for the lead on Lap 22. He led 10 laps before Kyle Busch went around him for the lead.
Eventually, Busch began lapping cars, and one of those cars he lapped was Logano, who went a lap down on Lap 78. Busch was leading the race on Lap 91 when Michael Annett spun to bring out the second caution of the day, which allowed the entire field to make their first pit stops of the day.
When they pulled off pit road, Busch was still the leader, with Keselowski and Kevin Harvick rounding out the top three. Menard gained one spot to put him in the fourth position. Keselowski unfortunately did not get to keep his position, as he was caught speeding on pit road, along with Denny Hamlin. That forced both drivers to start from the back of the field.
Harvick Begins To Pressure Busch
Busch restarted the race in the lead, but within five laps, he was passed by Harvick. He only led for a few laps before Busch passed him to retake the advantage. Matt Kenseth was leading on Lap 136 when the third caution of the race came out; Ricky Stenhouse Jr. spun into the outside wall. All of the cars on the lead lap made pit stops, with no issues or penalties during these set of stops.
Busch led the field back to green on Lap 145. He only led for a handful of laps before Harvick retook the lead from him. Harvick was leading on Lap 220 when the fourth caution of the day came out, this one after Hamlin crashed hard into the outside wall. Hamlin took his car to the garage, while most of the field came down the pit road for their third stops of the day.
Kyle Larson Wins Big On Pit Road
Kenseth won the race off pit road, but Kyle Larson was the big winner, as he gained two spots on pit road to put him in third place. Harvick had a really bad stop, and fell all the way back to sixth position for the restart.
Kenseth once more led the field back to green, followed by Busch and Larson. Busch slowly trimmed Kenseth’s lead until he finally passed him on Lap 244, to take the lead for the third time of the race.
Earnhardt Jr. finally got back on the lead lap on Lap 312 when Josh Wise ended up in the outside wall after contact with Martin Truex Jr, bringing out the caution flag. The field made another set of pit stops, and Kenseth won the race off pit road as he gained two positions. Busch was second off pit road.
Busch Takes The Lead From Kenseth
Kenseth led the field back to green, and was passed by Busch. He was leading on Lap 384 when the sixth caution of the day came out, this time for a second spin by Annett. The majority of the field took advantage of the caution to make pit stops, and Busch won the race off pit road.
Busch led the field back to green again, but NASCAR decided to review the restart to see if it was legal. After they concluded their review, it was determined that the restart was a valid one, and the race carried on. He was in the lead with 43 laps to go when Regan Smith had engine issues, and ended up in the outside wall.
That brought out another caution, which allowed Ryan Blaney to get back on the lead lap, and also allowed the field to make their final pit stops of the day. Busch won the race off pit road, which put him in the lead when the field went back to green flag racing.
Kenseth Gets To Busch, But Can't Make The Pass
Kenseth had a run, and had finally reached the bumper of Busch, but before he could make the pass, the caution came out when Jamie McMurray spun out after battling a tire rub. The race went back to green with 11 laps to go, and with Busch in the lead. A.J. Allmendenger quickly passed Kenseth to move into the second position, and then immediately set his sights on passing the leader.
Unfortunately for Allmendenger, there just was not enough laps left for him to get to the leader, and Busch took home the win, his first Sprint Cup win at Martinsville. It was also the first time that the driver who led the most laps in a race at Martinsville won that race.
The next Sprint Cup race will be next Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway.