Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion team made sure that Team Penske’s 1000th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race was a memorable one by scoring the victory in Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway. After rain showers canceled the Friday afternoon qualifying session, Keselowski started the race from the fourth position as MENCS owner points set the field. He quickly moved into the top spot and held that position until the first caution flag of the day at lap 70. Unfortunately, NASCAR said the No. 2 Ford was too fast upon entering the pit stall and Keselowski was forced to restart the race from the rear of the field at lap 77. Never one to panic, Keselowski and team worked their way back to the front of the field with strategy and a fast Ford Fusion. They finished the first, 130-laps stage in the fourth position to score seven bonus points. After pitting for four fresh Goodyear tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment during the break, Keselowski restarted the second stage in the 20th position. It was during this stage that he began to show the rest of the field the strength of his Miller Lite machine. All 130 laps of the stage were run without caution, and Keselowski drove his way into the third position by the end of the stage to score eight additional bonus points. The No. 2 Ford could pass either on the inside or outside lane, and was easily the fastest car on track as the second stage concluded. The final, 240-lap stage featured numerous cautions that seemed to threaten Keselowski’s strength, which was on longer runs. However, he was able to maintain his position inside the top five for the remainder of the event. As the laps wound down, Keselowski and Kyle Busch displayed a quintessential Martinsville battle with Keselowski making the final pass for the lead at lap 458. He would hold on to pick up his 23rd career MENCS victory, and his first at the tough half-mile oval. The win made Keselowski the first multiple winner this season and extended his top five streak to a career-best five races.
Quote: “You know, the two wins this year have both come at tracks that I haven’t won at before and we haven’t won at as a team before, so certainly that feels really good to be able to check something off the list. There seemed to be a lot of numerology today with this being the Penske team’s 1,000th start here in this series, and it’s been a long time since Ford won here. But it felt like we were due with the Miller Lite Ford, and if you ever can be, this is probably one of those tracks, and today was one of those days where we persevered in a special way with the battle there at Kyle at the end I thought was a lot of fun to be a part of. Hopefully it was a lot of fun to watch and kind of harkens back to the legacy of this sport on short tracks and why this track has been around for 70‑some years because of battles like that.”