(NASCAR)—The race for the grandfather clock at Martinsville might have marked some milestones for a couple of participants, but it was another disappointment for Joplin’s Jamie McMurray, the only full-time driver in NASCAR’s top series.
Brad Keslowski became the first driver to win two races this year and gave Ford its first victory at Martinsville in fifteen years. Keselowski and Kyle Busch dominated the last half of the race with Keselowski slipping past Busch on lap 458 of the 500 laps and winning by about 1.8 seconds.
The win comes in the 1000th NASCAR race for Team Penske. It’s the first time since 2004 that a Penske car has come across the line first at Martinsville. That was the year that Rusty Wallace drove a Penske car to his last victory in the series.
McMurray, who had said Saturday that he thinks the tight 0.526 mile Martinsville oval and the Sonoma road course are the tracks he most looks forward to going to, only to disappointed almost every time. “Honestly, I don’t feel like I’ve gotten the finishes I deserved at those two tracks…I think we’ll have a chance to win tomorrow.”
McMurray started sixth, the sixth time he’s started in the top ten in the six races this year. In the tight racing typical when 39 cars running at triple digits try to compete on a small track, McMurray became the first victim. Ryan Blaney’s light tap on the left rear of Jimmie Johnson’s car got Johnson slightly out of shape and the right front corner of Johnson’s car touched the left rear of McMurray’s car just enough to push the edge of the fender into the tire.
McMurray lost the tire on the third turn and went into the safer barrier on the driver’s side before stopping, nose to the wall. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., got his car stopped before he would have t-boned McMurray’s ruined automobile. The crash put McMurray in last place for the race and dropped him from sixth place to ninth in the points.
McMurray and NASCAR will have plenty of running room next weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.