Parks Pit Report: STP 500

Second win of the season, but the first grandfather clock, for Brad Keselowski.

When it comes to short track racing, there really is a different attitude about it.  That possibly comes from the fact that so many of today’s drivers in NASCAR began on the small facilities in their local town, whether it was asphalt or dirt.

Just look at the great speedways we have around here in Pennsylvania, like Hummingbird, Marion Center, or Port Royal.

This is what the sport of racing was built on, and continues to be built on by the next generation of drivers.  But, when NASCAR decides to hit the short track, the same feelings and memories come back.  The difference is instead of being played out in front of the local crowds, there’s also national media that will continue to replay the incidents for the ensuing week.

We are still talking about the incident from two years ago involving Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth, and there’s plenty more that can be used for examples from Martinsville.

But there’s also moments of courageous driving, just to make it to the finish.

Look at 1998, when Ricky Rudd won here in the fall.  It was unseasonably hot, and of all things the cooling system in his car failed.  Now Rudd is boiling hot in his car.  The team decides to put ice down his uniform to cool him off…that made things worse.  Instead of cooling, it turned to steam, practically cooking him from the inside out like an oven.  Yet he soldiered on, actually taking the win while literally burning inside the car.

Track personnel literally had to drag him from the car, his face and body red from all the burns, an IV from medical staff immediately went in his arm, an oxygen mask on his face.  This is what defines short track racing; the heart, the desire, and the will to never give in.

I’m forever going to be a fan of short track racing.  It’s grassroots, it’s home, and it’s competition.  The exact things that define what racing in general is all about.

STAGE 1 WINNER:  Martin Truex Jr.

STAGE 2 WINNER:  Chase Elliott

RESULTS:  1-Keselowski  2-Kyle Busch  3-Elliott  4-Logano  5-Dillon  6-Allmendinger  7-Bowyer  8-Newman  9-Kenseth  10-Stenhouse Jr.

NOTABLE FINISHES:  15-Johnson  16-Truex Jr.  17-Larson  20-Harvick  30-Hamlin  34-Earnhardt Jr.  37-Kurt Busch

CAUTIONS:  14 for 95 laps.  Lap 71-76 (#17 and 27 Accident-T3); 108-117 (#1 Accident-T1); 124-127 (#21 and 88 Spin-T2); 132-141 (Stage 1 Conclusion); 262-273 (Stage 2 Conclusion [37]); 280-283 (Debris-T2); 290-294 (#3, 5, 19, 41, 47 and 77 Accident-FS); 298-302 (#41 Spin-T3); 310-314 (#23 Spin-T2); 335-340 (#15 Spin-T3); 392-399 (#33 Accident-T3); 408-414 (#32 Accident-T3); 419-426 (#5, 10, 11, 13, 43, 47 and 88 Accident-T3); 432-436 (#14, 20 and 78 Accident-T4).

LEAD CHANGES:  18 among 7 drivers.  K. Larson 1-23; B. Keselowski 24-71; J. Logano 72; M. Truex Jr. 73-88; D. Hamlin 89-108; Kyle Busch 109; M. Truex Jr. 110-135; Kyle Busch 136-144; C. Elliott 145-151; Kyle Busch 152-259; C. Elliott 260-272; Kyle Busch 273-336; D. Hamlin 337-340; Kyle Busch 341-405; B. Keselowski 406-415; Kyle Busch 416-428; B. Keselowski 429-443; Kyle Busch 444-457; B. Keselowski 458-500.

TIME OF RACE:  3 Hrs, 44 Mins, 59 Secs.

AVERAGE SPEED:  70.139 MPH

MARGIN OF VICTORY:  1.806 Seconds

POINT STANDINGS (Points/Behind Leader [Playoff Points]):  1. Larson, 268 points [6]; 2. Elliott, -4 [2]; 3. Truex Jr, -32 [9]; 4. Keselowski, -34 [10]; 5. Logano, -61 [1]; 6. Kyle Busch, -80 [1]; 7. Blaney, -89; 8. Bowyer, -94; 9. McMurray, -105; 10. Harvick, -114 [3]; 11. Newman, -116 [5]; 12. Kahne, -122; 13. Jones, -124; 14. Johnson, -127; 15. Bayne -128; 16. Hamlin, -129.  PLAYOFF ELIGIBLE-Kurt Busch (19th, -149 [5].

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