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25 Lap Recap & Results: STP 500

STP 500
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Martinsville (VA) Speedway
Sunday, April 02, 2017

Laps 1 – 25: Polesitter Kyle Larson deferred to the outside line, giving Chase Elliott control of the start. Neither driver would hold the front row. Brad Keselowski emerged as the early leader, with teammate Joey Logano second and Martin Truex Jr third, for most of the run.

Laps 26 – 50: Jimmie Johnson, who holds the best overall record of active drivers at Martinsville, began working his way through the field. Larson and Elliott continued to struggle, as did STP 500 favorite to win Kyle Busch. Rookie Daniel Suarez fell victim to the leaders after being sent to the rear for the start by NASCAR, due to starting the race in a car with no laps turned for the weekend.

Brad Keselowksi made quick work of getting to the front of The STP 500 (Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Laps 51 – 75: Ricky Stenhouse Jr took a spin in turn three to bring out the first yellow flag on lap 70. He managed to jeep the No. 17 off of the wall and continue on. Paul Menard possibly made contact with Stenhouse. Keselowski and the rest of the leaders came to pit road. Most made adjustments. The top three remained unchanged after the race off of pit road. Ryan Blaney was the biggest loser. Blaney had been on the move prior to the caution, but lost numerous spots on pit road.

Laps 76 – 100: Ryan Blaney moved back into the top ten. Jamie McMurray, who showed some muscle early, slipped outside of the top five.

Laps 101 – 125: McMurray, Johnson and Blaney attempted a three wide manuever into turn one. All three made hard contact. They continued on, but McMurray sustained left rear damage that created a visible tire rub. A handful of laps later, the tire let go and McMurray spun violently , slamming the outside wall with the driver’s side of his machine. He was done for the day. The green flag flew again with just over a dozen laps left in stage one. Prior to the end of the stage, Dale Earnhardt Jr looped his No. 88 after contact with Ryan Blaney, bringing out the caution.

Laps 126 – 150: Truex made his way past Keselowski and took the stage lead under green flag conditions. Lap 131 began stage two. Kyle Busch would lead the field back to green by foregoing a pit stop. Suarez was forced to pit road for a tire rub.

Laps 151 – 175: Elliott made a brief stint as the leader, before yielding back to Busch.

Laps 176 – 200: Kyle Busch led Elliott and Logano at lap 191. Early leader Keselowski hovered around the end of the top ten. Stage one leader Truex fell outside the top ten. McMurray remained the only retiree.

Laps 201 – 225: Much of the field remained side-by-side. No clear advantage could be seen in either lane. The top three remained unchanged.

Laps 226 – 250: Joey Logano headed to pit road under green with a flat tire.Although the field remained aggressive, no position changes near the front stood. Kyle Busch led at halfway.

Laps 251 – 275: Busch took a bumper shot from Stenhouse coming to the end of stage two. Stenhouse was fighting to get a lap back, and he did so. However, as he sent Busch up the racing surface and dove under the 18 car, Elliott, who had worked his way into second, went with him and grabbed the stage two leader honors and points by a nose. Following pit stops, Elliott led Busch, Johnson, Keselowski and Earnhardt. Busch quickly returned to the lead at the beginning of the final stage.

Laps 276 – 300: Damage surfaced on the 18 of Busch, presumably caused by the contact with Stenhouse. A light tire rub developed. The caution came out shortly after, but the 18 team elected not to make repairs. Austin Dillon spun in turn two. The resulting bottleneck left numerous cars with damage. Suarez and Kurt Busch took heavy front end impacts. All involved would continue, but only a few more green flag laps would be run before Kurt Busch blew a tire and sustained even more damage after contact with the wall. He drove the No. 41 to the garage area and became the second driver out of The STP 500.

Laps 301 – 325: The leaders came to pit road under a caution brought out by a spin for Gray Gaulding. Kyle Busch had no trouble maintaining the lead on the restart.

Laps 326 – 350: Reed Sorenson’s blown left rear tire and the resulting spin out triggered a caution that brought the field to pit road for service. Denny Hamlin would restart on the point after staying out, with Stenhouse, who also stayed out, alongside. Kyle Busch made quick work of Stenhouse. Hamlin held on a bit longer, but Busch, Elliott and Keselowski soon made their way past the 11 of Hamlin.

Laps 326 – 350: Reed Sorenson’s blown left rear tire and the resulting spin out triggered a caution that brought the field to pit road for service. Denny Hamlin would restart on the point after staying out, with Stenhouse, who also stayed out, alongside. Kyle Busch made quick work of Stenhouse. Hamlin held on a bit longer, but Busch, Elliott and Keselowski soon made their way past the 11 of Hamlin.

Laps 351 – 375: Johnson ran fifth at lap 367. Twenty-two teams remained on the lead lap.

Laps 376 – 400: Jeffrey Earnhardt blew a tire just shy of the 400-lap mark to bring out the caution, setting up a potential Saturday night short track style 100 lap run to the checkers, Earnhardt was able to drive his No. 33 off the racetrack. Matt Kenseth made an appearance inside the top five.

Laps 401 – 425: Keselowski showed his power again. Kyle Busch would be overcome for second by Chase Elliott, but it wouldn’t stick. Dale Earnhardt Jr’s day was ended due to a crash on lap 419. Denny Hamlin also received heavy damage.

Laps 426-499: Keselowski stretched his lead. Busch got past Elliott for second. Rickey Stenhouse is fighting to get into the top ten. Pre-race favorites Kyle Larson and Jimmie Johnson have not been a factor.

Lap 500: Brad Keselowski wins The STP 500, becoming the first repeat winner of the 2017 season.

Unofficial Results

1. Brad Keselowski
2. Kyle Busch
3. Chase Elliott
4. Joey Logano
5. Austin Dillon
6. AJ Allmendinger
7. Clint Bowyer
8. Ryan Newman
9. Matt Kenseth
10. Ricky Stenhouse Jr
11. Chris Buescher
12. Erik Jones
13. Trevor Bayne
14. Kasey Kahne
15. Jimmi Johnson
16. Martin Truex Jr
17. Kyle Larson
18. Aric Almirola
19. Paul Menard
20. Kevin Harvick
21. Cole Whitt (-1 lap)
22. Ty Dillon (-1 lap)
23. Danica Patrick (-1 lap)
24. David Ragan (-2 laps)
25. Ryan Blaney (-2 laps)
26. Michael McDowell (-3 laps)
27. Landon Cassill (-3 laps)
28. Corey LaJoie (-4 laps)
29. Gray Gaulding (-5 laps)
30. Denny Hamlin (-7 laps)
31. Reed Soresnon (-8 laps)
32. Daniel Suarez (-11 laps)
33. Timmy Hill (-14 laps)
34. Dale Earnhardt Jr (-82 laps)
35. Matt DiBenedetto (-99 laps)
36. Jeffrey Earnhardt (-115 laps)
37. Kurt Busch (-205 laps)
38. Jamie McMurray (-395 laps)

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