By: Pete Pistone – @PPistone | MRN.com on April 3, 2016 | 4:38 P.M. EST
Busch’s first Martinsville Sprint Cup win came in his 22nd start. (Photo: Getty Images)
Kyle Busch took the checkered flag in Sunday’s STP 500 to give him a weekend sweep at Martinsville Speedway.
Busch followed his victory in Saturday’s Camping World Truck Series race with a win on Sunday to score his first career Sprint Cup triumph at the Virginia short track.
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver dominated the race leading 352 laps and notching his first win of the 2016 season.
“We had a really good car through practice and Adam (Stevens, crew chief) made some really good adjustments overnight to keep us where we need to be in order to run up front all day, led a lot of laps, probably led the most laps there and to win here in Martinsville is pretty cool – finally get to take a clock home,” Busch said.
AJ Allmendinger did his best to try and catch Busch in the closing laps but had to settle for a still impressive second-place finish.
“So proud of this JTG Daugherty team and what we’ve been doing this year,” Allmendinger said. “We had such a good race car all weekend and to bring home a second place like we did today is just what we need to keep rolling.”
Kyle Larson, Austin Dillon and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top five.
Carl Edwards, Brian Vickers, Paul Menard, Jimmie Johnson and Ryan Newman completed the first 10 finishers.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series now heads to Texas Motor Speedway next Saturday night, April 9th.
How Busch Won: Although he dominated the day Busch had to fight teammate Kenseth on the final restart with only a handful of laps to go. Once he got by Kenseth, who dropped back in the field, he had to hold off a hard-charging Allmendinger but had more than enough at the finish to take the checkered flag.
Who Had a Good Day: Allmendinger started sixth and by far had his best outing in more than a year. He was strong late in the going and made some power moves to get to the runner-up spot and scored his second career Martinsville finish in that position…Larson notched his first finish better than 19th at Martinsville in a race he missed last year when he fainted the day before…Dillon has four top-10 finishes in the season’s first six races…Dale Earnhardt Jr. rallied back from an early-race spin after a cut tire to finish 14th when at one point he was listed 40th in the race running order.
Who Had a Bad Day: Denny Hamlin was working his way through the field in pursuit of his sixth career Martinsville Sprint Cup Series win. But those hopes ended when he lost control of his car maneuvering through the corner and slammed the outside wall to end his day with severe damage to the FedEx Toyota…..Aric Almirola had hoped to add to the legacy of the Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 at Martinsville but had his come to a close with an engine failure…..
What Else Happened: In typical Martinsville fashion the race saw its intensity level rise as the laps raced by. While Busch certainly had the dominant car, there was plenty of passing for positions throughout the field. The final restart saw a number of drivers in close proximity with one another make contact jockeying for position, which played to the benefit of Busch who was able to extend his lead and finish comfortably ahead of Allmendinger.
Quote of the Day: “A lot of people said I didn’t deserve yesterday. Maybe I didn’t. But I got one today,” Kyle Busch on winning a Martinsville Grandfather Clock in both Saturday’s Truck Series race and Sunday’s STP 500.
Notables: Busch scored his fifth career Truck Series-Sprint Cup Series weekend sweep…Vickers finished seventh to score his best performance since he was second in the July Daytona race of 2014…Menard’s eighth-place finish was his career Martinsville best in 18 starts at the track…Edwards battled back from one lap down for his top-10 run.