(photo courtesy Leon Hammack)
Date: April 2, 2017
Event: Martinsville 500 (Round 6 of 36)
Series: Monster EnergyNASCAR Cup Series
Location: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (.526-mile oval)
Format: 500 laps, broken into three stages (130 laps/130 laps/240 laps)
Start/Finish: 9th/20th (Running, completed 500 of 500 laps)
Point Standing: 10th (154 points, 114 out of first)
Race Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Recap (Ends on Lap 130):
● Kevin Harvick started ninth, finished 11th.
● The No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford pitted under caution on lap 72 for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments.
● Harvick gained several positions on pit road and restarted third following the lap-72 pit stop.
● He pitted under caution on lap 109 to reverse his previous changes after noting he was tight in the center and loose off.
● The team stayed out during the lap-123 caution and gained two positions in the closing laps of the stage.
Stage 2 Recap (Ends on Lap 260):
● Started 21st, finished 24th.
● The No. 4 Ford battled a tight-handling condition in the center of the corner and loose off.
● Harvick went a lap down to leader Kyle Busch on lap 205 while racing in the 23rd position.
Final Stage Recap (Ends on Lap 500):
● Started 25th, finished 20th.
● The No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford came to pit road for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments following Stage 2.
● Harvick pitted under caution on lap 282 for right-side tires and repairs. He restarted 27th.
● He raced the No. 13 car for the free pass for more than 100 laps before finally returning to the lead lap on lap 406.
● The Bakersfield, California, native restarted 21st on lap 414 and stayed out under caution on lap 421 to move into the top-12.
● The No. 4 car sustained damage trying to avoid an incident on lap 434. The team pitted for repairs and restarted 19th.
● Harvick battled until the end and took the checkered flag in 20th.
● Harvick scored his fourth top-20 finish of 2017.
● He scored his 24th top-20 finish in 32 career Cup Series starts at Martinsville.
● Keselowski’s win in the Martinsville 500 is his 23rd career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his first at Martinsville.
● Kyle Larson leads the point standings by four points over Chase Elliott.
● A total of 20 drivers finished on the lead lap.
● The race was slowed by 14 cautions for 95 laps.
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 on Sunday, April 9at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. The race starts at 1:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!