ThatsRacin

NASCAR STP 500: Kyle Busch holds off AJ Allmendinger at Martinsville

Kyle Busch celebrates after winning Sunday’s STP 500 Sprint Cup auto race at Martinsville Speedway.
Kyle Busch celebrates after winning Sunday’s STP 500 Sprint Cup auto race at Martinsville Speedway. AP Photo

Kyle Busch held off AJ Allmendinger and won the STP 500 Sunday, Busch’s first career NASCAR Sprint Cup victory at Martinsville Speedway.

Busch led 352 of 500 laps, finishing ahead of Allmendinger, Kyle Larson and Austin Dillon.

It was the first victory of the season for Busch, the 2015 Cup champion. Busch also won for a 35th time in his career, but for just the first time at Martinsville. Busch also won Saturday’s Truck series race on Martinsville’s half-mile track, the shortest on the Cup circuit.

Pole-winner Joey Logano struggled for much of the day and finished 11th.

The Cup series head to Fort Worth, Texas, on Saturday for the Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Turning point

Busch took the lead from Paul Menard on Lap 32 and would stay out front for the next 69 laps. That was an early indication that he had the strongest car in the field.

Three who mattered

Kyle Busch: Race winner takes the green flag at Martinsville for the first time in his career, led a race-high 352 laps.

AJ Allmendinger: Excellent second-place run for a Allmendinger, whose only career win came in 2014 at Watkins Glen.

Joey Logano: Pole-winner struggled for much of the day and finished 11th. Crossed the finish line with his hood bent back and at least partially obstructing his view.

Worth mentioning

▪ Five-time Martinsville winner Denny Hamlin’s day ended when he hit the wall in Turn 1 of Lap 221. “It was really out of the blue – a bit of a rookie move on my part,” Hamlin said. “I’ve been around here too much to do something like that.” Hamlin, who finished 39th, also had a pit-road speeding penalty earlier in the race. He said Friday that he’s always had trouble on Martinsville’s pit road.

▪ Paul Menard, who hadn’t led a lap yet this season, paced the field for 10 laps early in the race. He would finish eighth.

▪ Dale Earnhardt Jr. was never able to completely recover from a wreck on Lap 5, when contact from David Ragan spun Earnhardt’s No. 88 Chevy. Earnhardt went down a lap, and worked eventually worked his way back to 14th.

They said it

“I’d say it certainly helps when you get to run other divisions and that’s why I do it, to pay off on Sundays.” – Busch.

N@SCAR

Next race

Duck Commander 500

Where: Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, Texas.

When: 7:30 p.m., Saturday.

TV: Fox.

Radio: Network.

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