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Harvick’s top-2 streak ends, but Keselowski starts his own at Martinsville

Kes Mville 1 2015 getty

One top-2 streak ended and another began in Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

Kevin Harvick saw his string of eight consecutive top-2 finishes – four wins and four runner-up showings – come to an end with an eighth-place finish.

“We just lost track position at the wrong time,” Harvick said.

But not Brad Keselowski. For the second week in a row, he found grip at the right time and, finishing second to winner Denny Hamlin a week after winning at Auto Club Speedway.

“It was a good run,” Keselowski said. “(It was an) up-and-down day for us and we finished on a strong note, just not quite as strong as we wanted to.

“That’s the best we’ve ever been here at Martinsville, so I’m pumped about that, but a little disappointed I’m not taking home a (grandfather clock for the winner). That’s how it goes sometimes, but, all in all, a really solid day, a fun day and just one spot short.”

Keselowski raced Hamlin hard, and for the most part, clean. He gave Hamlin a hard shot coming out of Turn 4 on the final lap, but Keselowski’s actions could have been worse.

“I did everything I could other than wreck him,” Keselowski said. “I hit him pretty good a couple of times. I just had fun and I really don’t know what more I could have done other than just drove through him, but I felt pretty good about what I did do.

“I raced him the way I wanted to be raced and I guess that is what it is,” Keselowski said.

Hamlin appreciated it.

“Glad he chose the latter decision on that last corner, but that’s something that you build up, the respect from your competitors, and he’ll get that paid back to him,’' Hamlin said, noting he’ll return the kindness later.

Follow @JerryBonkowski