You have to love short-track racing. All of the beating and banging led to an exciting battle in the closing laps as Brad Keselowski held off Kyle Busch for the victory.
The short track shook up our power rankings. Check out how the top 25 drivers rank after the STP 500 at Martinsville.
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The first driver to win two races this season has also been the most consistent. A bit overshadowed by Kyle Larson’s dominant West Coast Swing, Keselowski is a mechanical failure at Las Vegas away from having three wins.
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Larson had his roughest day of the season but a 17th-place finish still kept him in the points lead and he should be back to form this weekend at Texas.
We keep saying a win can’t be far off for Elliott and as bad as he wants one, his consistency shows how much of a talent he truly is.
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Team Penske has been the best team this season and while Logano has battled adversity a few times, he’s a blown tire at Phoenix away from not finishing worse than sixth all season.
After a rough start to the season and a scuffle with Joey Logano, Busch has found his form and had the best car at Martinsville. A bad set of tires led to a second-place finish, but he’s a favorite at Texas this weekend.
Truex faded late for his worst finish of the season. Having a worst finish of 16th-place isn’t bad. The No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Camry has been the best Toyota most races this season.
The resurgence of Clint Bowyer continues. He still 8th in the points standings and has his third top-10 finish in four races.
After his unexpected win at Phoenix, Newman has continued to run well in the following weeks. An eighth-place result at the Virginia short track looks promising for the No. 31 team.
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Atlanta and Phoenix are Harvick’s only two top 10s this season and he underperformed at both of those tracks with a pit road penalty at Atlanta and a lack of his usual dominance at Phoenix. Harvick has overcome worse in the past, though.
Blaney didn’t make many friends at the paperclip-shaped short track on Sunday. His 25th-place finish and a beat up race car leaves the No. 21 Wood Brothers bunch looking for a rebound at Texas.
Hamlin dropped four spots in the point standings with his 30th-place finish at Martinsville, one of the most unexpected results of the day. He’ll have his eyes on a big rebound at his home track, Richmond, in a few weeks.
This kid keeps impressing us. After crashing out of the Daytona 500 early, he’s been in contention most races and has five finishes of 15th or better.
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Jimmie Johnson, no change
Another week of “this is the race Jimmie will rebound” and he still hasn’t rebounded. A season-best finish of 9th is a shock for the seven-time champ.
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Kasey Kahne, no change
For the third week in a row, Kahne finished worse than he ran most of the day. The No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy is better than its been in a few years, but the team needs to put it together for better results.
The No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing team decided to ride out a heavy tire rub and it cost them big. McMurray had a good car until it was damaged. With the speed they’ve shown, we’ll see a bounce back at Texas.
Mark J. Rebilas Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Dillon scored his best finish of the season and contended with the leaders in the closing laps before slipping to fifth. He’s good at Texas and trending in the right direction.
Bayne quietly scored his fourth top-15 finish of the season and while they don’t have winning speed, Roush Fenway Racing has made some major improvements so far in 2017.
Feast or famine is an apt title to Kenseth’s season. He pairs three DNFs with three top 10s. His usual consistency should carry him through his rough start.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., +2
Stenhouse scored the highlight of the race when he moved Kyle Busch out of the way to stay on the lead lap at the end of Stage 2. It paid off with a 10th-place finish and a boost in the standings.
The learning experience continues for Suarez. He had a rough week with the abrupt leave of absence by crew chief Dave Rogers, a practice crash on Friday, and a heavily damaged Camry on Sunday.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., -3
Earnhardt saved his ride early when he slid in front of Ryan Blaney and spun, but got sandwiched in the middle and obliterated his radiator late in the race. The site of his first Cup Series win should be a welcomed site this weekend.
After winning the Daytona 500, it’s been all downhill for Busch since. He hasn’t finished better than 24th in the past four races.
A heavy points penalty for Allmendinger following Atlanta and a stretch of rough runs came to an end when he finished sixth on Sunday at Martinsville. Both JTG Daugherty Racing drivers performed well this weekend.
Almirola has finished in the top 20 in five of six races this season and the move to a single-car operation appears to be paying off for Richard Petty Motorsports.
We welcome a new entry to the list after Buescher posted his best finish of 2017 and made the biggest leap forward in the points standings. A solid run in his home state can keep him on the list.
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