Main Takeaways From Sunday’s First Data 500 at Martinsville

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at the Martinsville Speedway was nothing short of dramatic. The First Data 500 had carnage. It had melees. It had the typical short track temper flares. It had a thrilling ending. It had big playoff ramifications. What more could we have wanted? Here are my main takeaways from Sunday’s race. 

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Fair Or Foul – Hamlin’s Late Race Move On Chase Elliott?

One of the most controversial moment of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs occurred in the late stages of Sunday’s First Data 500 at the Martinsville Speedway. It was one that will be talked about all week. With three laps left in regulation, Denny Hamlin mashed the gas and forced Chase Elliott out of the groove in Turn 3 on the Virginia short track. The only problem was that Hamlin did it in my view, a dirty way. It wasn’t like Hamlin just did the old “bump and run”…

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Brad Keselowski Does Enough To Put Himself In A Great Points Position Leaving Martinsville

Heading into this weekend’s First Data 500 at the Martinsville Speedway, Brad Keselowski called the opening race of the Round of 8 virtually a “must-win” for his Team Penske organization. Keselowski, said that they honestly didn’t have enough speed on the 1.5-mile tracks to realistically contend. With Texas the penultimate race of this round, he didn’t want to be in a deficit and trying to make up for it next weekend at Texas. That would force him in a “win or go home” scenario at Phoenix. But, Keselowski did a…

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Hendrick Motorsports Comes Away With No Top 10’s Sunday at Martinsville

Hendrick Motorsports and Martinsville Speedway are synonymous with success. Hendrick drivers have won 17 poles and 24 races on the Virginia paperclip. Both are the most among any Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team – ever. Martinsville is the place where Hendrick scored their first ever Cup victory in 1984. It’s the spot where Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon have won nine times a piece. In fact, among those 24 wins at Martinsville are five different drivers. 

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For 1st Time All Season, Roush/Fenway Racing Scores Dual Top 10 Finishes at Martinsville

The 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season has been a vast improvement for the entire Roush/Fenway Racing camp. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. made the playoffs for the first time of his career as he won the spring race at the Talladega Superspeedway as well as the July race at the Daytona International Speedway. Stenhouse, even advanced past the first round of the playoffs too as he made it to the Round of 12. But, despite Stenhouse’s eight top 10 finishes and Trevor Bayne’s six, neither of those occurred in the…

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Kyle Busch Stamps His Name Into The Championship 4 With Last Lap Pass and Win at Martinsville

For the third straight season, Kyle Busch will race for a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. Busch, took the checkered flag first in Sunday’s wild First Data 500 at the Martinsville Speedway, as the win in the opening race of the Round of 8 automatically puts Busch into the Championship 4. But, despite leading a race-high 184 of the 505 laps on Sunday afternoon, the fifth victory of the season for Busch didn’t necessarily come easy. In fact, if not for some late race drama,…

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5 Storylines For Sunday’s First Data 500 (3 p.m. ET/NBCSN/MRN)

The start of the third round begins on Sunday in the First Data 500 (3 p.m. ET/NBCSN/MRN). While the main focus is on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at the Martinsville Speedway, the overall focus is on the Round of 8. Here are the five storylines to watch.

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“Must Win” Situation For Brad Keselowski This Weekend at Martinsville

After Brad Keselowski won the Alabama 500 at the Talladega Superspeedway a few weeks ago, he declared that the opening race of the Round of 8 at the Martinsville Speedway was a “must-win” situation for him. The reason he thinks that, is all due to the speed of the Toyota’s on downforce tracks. He doesn’t think he has much of a shot to win at Texas and he doesn’t want to be facing a win or go home scenario at Phoenix in the closing race of the third round. So,…

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Can Jimmie Johnson Shine In The “Jimmie Johnson Round?” Why He And Hamlin Won’t Necessarily Shine In Martinsville Either

We should just rename the Round of 8 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs the “Jimmie Johnson Round.” The three tracks that make up the third round of the playoffs are three of Johnson’s best tracks. He’s won 20 overall races on them, and now that he’s escaped to the next round of the playoffs again, maybe we need to start taking notice. Johnson, has been quiet again too. He’s yet to win a race since Dover in June in fact. He also has just one top five…

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Playoff Points The Key To Martin Truex Jr’s Success In The Round of 8, Could He Be On Upset Alert?

I know it sounds weird to think about, but don’t expect Martin Truex Jr. to be as dominant in the Round of 8 as he’s been throughout the first 32 races of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. Yes, the driver who’s won a series high seven races isn’t going to be the usual dominating self over the next three weeks. Here’s why. 

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