STP 500: 5 takeaways from NASCAR at Martinsville

Apr 2, 2017; Martinsville, VA, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Brad Keselowski (2) races during the STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 2, 2017; Martinsville, VA, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Brad Keselowski (2) races during the STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports /

From Brad Keselowski celebrating Team Penske’s anniversary in style, here are the five things we learned from NASCAR’s STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

Brad Keselowski can call himself the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series’ first repeat winner of the year, as the No. 2 Team Penske driver edged Kyle Busch to claim the STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia.

Keselowski and Busch dominated most of Sunday’s race but there was still plenty of excitement to go around. Keselowski’s teammate Joey Logano clawed his way back up, tires were flat all over the place, and Ryan Blaney probably needs to send more flowers to Dale Earnhardt Jr. after the two made contact again.

To find out where your favorite driver finished at Martinsville, you can see the complete race results from the STP 500 by clicking here.

Here’s what we learned from the 2017 STP 500:

1) Home is where the clock is

By winning at Martinsville, Keselowski is the proud owner of a brand new grandfather clock. Particularly proud because as he revealed post-victory the grandfather clocks are actually made in his hometown of Rochester Hills, Michigan.

“Those clocks are built in my hometown in Rochester Hills, Michigan, so it’s cool to get one of them from back home,” Keselowski said per “I have one as a truck owner, but not as a driver, so I’m glad to bring one back as a driver.”

Well at least he knows where to go if anything on it ever breaks. Keselowski was so excited to have his first win as a driver at Martinsville that he celebrated by going up into the grandstands and taking selfies with fans. (Not appearing in the picture: Matt Kenseth)

2) Penske celebrates an anniversary

Keselowski wasn’t the only one with a special occasion on Sunday. The STP 500 was also Team Penske’s one thousandth NASCAR start. Let’s all think about that for a second and have our brains explode.

So perhaps it was appropriate that the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford was in Victory Lane at Martinsville to truly ring in this massive milestone. Could Roger Penske follow up the IndyCar title that he won with Simon Pagenaud last September with a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series title this year? It could happen based on how Keselowski and Logano are running thus far in 2017.

3) It’s the tires, stupid

Remember earlier this season when Kyle Busch made that snarky comment about Goodyear and a lot of people gave him grief for complaining? Tires certainly weren’t anyone’s friend during the STP 500. Busch took four tires on his car in his last pit stop and lost all of the speed in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing car; maybe it was the tires getting revenge.

All jokes aside several drivers saw a good race spoiled by tire problems. Most notably there was Jamie McMurray, whose flat tire introduced his No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing entry to the nearest wall. McMurray would go from running near the front of the pack to finishing dead last. We’re not saying the tires are faulty or cursed but they certainly gave a lot of people headaches on Sunday.

4) Chase Elliott in the chase

As we’ve spent the last week and a half raving about Kyle Larson, how about a hand for Chase Elliott for another strong weekend at Martinsville? Elliott drove the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports car to third place after qualifying in second position.

So far the young man has proven to be just as great as we were hoping when he took over the 24 car from Jeff Gordon. He may only be in his second NASCAR season, but he’s driving like he’s been here for a while and he’s a joy to watch at every event.

5) This is your second pit road speeding PSA

We’re looking at you, Trevor Bayne. A handful of more drivers were busted for pit road speeding at the STP 500 including eventual winner Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Bayne was a repeat offender, getting himself in trouble twice before finishing 13th. Everyone knows how to go fast but they’re all still learning the concept of slowing down. We’re going to say it again: don’t mess up a good race by going too fast on pit road.

(And did anyone else laugh at FOX’s choice to put police lights on the top of their pit road speeding graphic? Lame, but effective.)

Next: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings after STP 500

Next week NASCAR heads to the Lone Star State for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, TX. The green flag drops at 1:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 9 and the race will be nationally televised on FOX.