Kyle Busch Wins after Wreck-Filled Finish at Martinsville

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Kyle Busch Wins after Wreck-Filled Finish at Martinsville

Postby Bryce Turner » Sun Oct 29, 2017 7:06 pm

By: Bryce Turner

Race Details: Winner: Kyle Busch; Track: Martinsville Speedway; Laps: 500 (130,130,240); Race Name: First Data 500

Kyle Busch wins after an intense finish at Martinsville. Joey Logano started on the pole for today’s race on the historic short track. Martinsville, known for its paper clip shape, hot dogs and the grandfather clock awarded to the race winner, is the oldest track on the circuit, celebrating 70 years and hosting the Cup Series for almost as long, since 1949.

A caution came on lap 36 when Ty Dillon spun after contact from Michael McDowell. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. also spun as part of a chain reaction. This counted as the competition caution, which was scheduled for lap 45 due to earlier rain.

Four circuits after the restart, on lap 49, Brad Keselowski took the lead from his Team Penske teammate. On lap 62, yellow flag for a spin by David Ragan.

A short time after the restart, it was Logano who passed his teammate for the top spot on lap 79. Then not too long after that, caution on lap 87 when A.J. Allmendinger spun following contact from Danica Patrick.

Jimmie Johnson led some drivers who did not pit. Johnson stayed up front until lap 114, when Keselowski took the spot with fresher tires. Keselowski going on to win stage one, while the strategy payed off for Johnson, who had to start from the back, as he picked up stage points with a fourth place.

Kyle Busch dominated most of a caution-free second stage, with Keselowski on his bumper for several laps. The battles got close as the top two closed up on Denny Hamlin and Kasey Kahne, who were trying to stay on the lead lap.

Hamlin passed Kahne for 12th, while Keselowski passed Busch with 2 to go as they lapped Kahne, taking the stage two victory.

Busch won the race off pit road, starting the final stage out front.

On lap 303, yellow flag as Kyle Larson spun into the inside wall, his day done. Two circuits after the next restart, on lap 316, caution when Erik Jones spun after contact from Cole Whitt.

Three circuits after the restart, on lap 325, Chase Elliott took the top spot.

On lap 361, yellow flag when Ty Dillon made contact with Ragan, causing Ragan to slide up into Landon Cassill, with Cassill then spinning.

Brad Keselowski won the race off pit road, restarting in P1 on lap 368. On lap 386, Elliott returned to the lead.

With 43 to go, caution when Carl Long spun into the wall. Elliott edged Keselowski off pit road to restart out front with 36 to go. Keselowski stayed on Elliott’s back bumper before making the pass with 30 to go.

The battle for second tightened up in the closing laps, with Elliott just in front of Logano. Busch diving to the inside of Logano made contact, causing major tire rub on the #22. Logano lost a few spots before the rub eventually led to a flat tire, causing him to spin with 9 to go.

The drama intensified on the restart with 4 to go. Keselowski took the outside with Elliott on the inside. Elliott made contact, sending Keselowski up the track, while Hamlin moved to the inside. With 3 to go, Hamlin on his back bumper caused Elliott to spin into the wall, giving Hamlin the lead.

This set up NASCAR Overtime, a two lap dash to the checkers, where the intensity continued. With 2 to go, Busch got to Hamlin’s inside in turns three and four. Last lap, Busch made contact with Hamlin, taking the lead in turn one and sliding up the track, allowing Martin Truex Jr. to move to his inside. Busch held on to win, while Hamlin wrecked off the final turn. Truex, Clint Bowyer, Keselowski and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top five.

Hamlin’s spin collected several drivers coming to the checkers, including Harvick, Trevor Bayne, Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Daniel Suarez. On the cool down lap, Elliott ran into Hamlin on the track before the two drivers exited their cars and exchanged words.

The Round of 8 continues next weekend in Texas.
Bryce Turner is chief NASCAR correspondent for
Bryce Turner
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