For 31 weeks the STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway held the top spot in NASCAR writer Jeff Gluck’s “Was It A Good Race” poll on Twitter, with more than 90 percent of voters voting yes. It was only topped by the First Data 500, also at Martinsville Speedway, with an impressive 93 percent of fans voting it was a good race.
The poll, which Gluck posts on Twitter after every race simply asks “Was It A Good Race” with the option to vote yes or no.
"While a Twitter poll certainly isn't scientific, the results often seem to reflect the general sentiment about the race each week,” Gluck said. “So when Martinsville swept the top two spots in this season's poll, that seemed fitting -- because the Martinsville races really were the most exciting of 2017. And when you get 93 percent of NASCAR fans to agree on something, that's an achievement in itself."
The first race saw Brad Keselowski win, the first time a Ford had won at Martinsville in 15 years. The race had 18 lead changes and was slowed by caution 14 times. It also had arguably the most memorable end to any stage of the season, when Chase Elliott passed Kyle Busch coming out of turn four at the end of Stage 2.
“At the time I thought for sure that was going to be the best race of the year,” Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell said. “I think the stage racing was made for Martinsville and that race certainly proved it. We also had action all over the track and there was something for everyone.”
When the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series returned for the First Data 500, the energy and intensity was high. The race was the first Cup Series race that used the Speedways new LED Lights. When the sun went down, and a berth in the Championship Race on the line, drivers fought, both literally and figuratively. Martinsville Speedway certainly lived up to the moniker “Half Mile of Mayhem.”
Chase Elliott seemed on his way to picking up his first career win, until contact with Denny Hamlin sent him into the wall in the closing laps. Elliott and Hamlin would disagree on the intent of the contact, with the drivers having a heated discussion after the race.
Kyle Busch would beat eventual Series Champion Martin Truex Jr. in a drag race off of turn four, to claim the win, but contact just behind the leaders
had Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Blaney and other title contenders wrecking as they crossed the line.
Harvick and Blaney had words after the race, which Harvick summed up in seven words.
“Bent Fenders. Hurt Feelings. I love it,” he said after the race.
“That is what Martinsville Speedway is all about,” Campbell said. “We don’t need gimmicks. Our racing speaks for itself and I think the fans voiced that with their votes.
“That race had 16 lead changes and more memorable moments than I can count. Was it a good race? Yeah, I’d say it was.”
The Mayhem returns to Martinsville Speedway in 2018 on March 25 for the STP 500.
The race is the first short-track race of the season and the first race on the East Coast after the “West Coast Swing.”
Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by calling 877.RACE.TIX or online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.