NCS: Late race chaos breaks a 110-race winless streak for Brad Keselowski in the Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway

On the annual throwback weekend trip to Darlington Raceway, Tyler Reddick would best Brad Keselowski to start on the pole with Chris Buscher coming on the closest finish just a week prior at Kansas losing out to Kyle Larson starting third.

As the first stops of the day started to close in, Reddick lead which had grown to over one and a half seconds would start to get cut into by Keselowski all the way down to three-tenths before the leaders would begin to bail for stops.

Gibbs, who had lost a couple spots from the start of the race, would have the fastest stop of the pit cycle allowing him to get off pit road with Byron behind him. Reddick and Keselowski would both lose three spots on the cycle. Gibbs would lead the next 34 laps, tagging the wall at least three times and making contact with Suarez in lapped traffic before finally handing the lead to Larson who had spent nearly a dozen laps hounding the No. 54.

Stage one would go caution free with Larson taking home the opening stage win of the day over Gibbs, Keselowski, Reddick and Truex rounding out the top-five.

Reddick would once again take the lead after beating Keselowski off pit road. Gibbs and Larson who had both led prior to the stage caution would lose several spots coming out in third and fourth respectively.

The stage would be slowed when Nemechek would blow a down off turn four spinning down the front to contact the inside wall. Nemechek would attempt to make it back to pit road before spinning out at the entrance with all the tires down causing the car to be towed back to their box.

One the restart it would last two corners before Blaney would get squeezed up into the wall by Truex and Byron while running three wide, Blaney would radio to the team “It’s killed” before driving the car back to pit road. Blaney’s team would attempt to fix the car on pit road, sending him back out under the caution but it wouldn’t be in their favor as time would expire on the clock ending their day.

“One, don’t shove it three-wide at a place you can’t run three-wide. If he wants to do that, fine, but your responsibility is to leave room. You have to leave room for the top two cars. You shoved the bottom of three (wide), you have to leave space and he was off the dotted line until we were already wrecking.” Said Blaney

“He faded up and sandwiched the 19 into me. We’re as high as we can go, so it’s like, I don’t know if he thought he had enough room or gave us enough room and didn’t or whatever. That’s just what I was like, you’re responsible for those two guys when you shove guys three-wide.  You have to act like two cars are to the top of you.” Continued Blaney

Stage two would end with Reddick once again taking the stage win over Keselowski, Gibbs, Logano, Larson, and Byron.

Reddick’s lead would grow to over four seconds following the restart as Keselowski was in a tire saving mode, as pit stops began to draw close, Keselowski would chip away at the lead of Reddick who was stalled trying to work traffic.

Finally, after running down Reddick for the lead, Keselowski would take control of the event for the first time of the day 226 laps in after Reddick had led the previous 131.

Caution would come out for the sixth time today with 43 to go as Larson would cut a tire slamming the wall in turn three before spinning. When everyone would come to pit road, Reddick would edge out Keselowski on the race off pit road setting up another Reddick versus Keselowski restart.

Reddick and Keselowski would drag race the track making contact a half lap after the restart not giving up on each other as Buescher would draft the pair before driving deep off turn four taking it three wide down the front to take the lead.

With under 10 to go Buescher and Reddick would bang fenders into each other with Buescher clearing for the lead. But it wouldn’t end there when Reddick would bang the fence at the opposite end of the track as Buescher would have an issue slowing allowing Brad Keselowski to regain control of the race with just eight laps remaining.

Keselowski set the cruise control on the No. 6 Castrol Ford Darkhorse Mustang taking the checkered flag breaking a 100-plus race winless streak over Gibbs by 1.214 seconds followed by Berry, Hamlin and Briscoe rounding out the top-five finishers.

“What a heck of a day. It’s Darlington, so whether it’s your first win, your last win, this is a really special track. The history of NASCAR, it’s as tough as it gets, and that battle at the end with my teammate Tyler Reddick, we just laid it all out on the line, it was freaking awesome. I thought it couldn’t get much better than Kansas. It did today. That was awesome. I’m so glad you guys got to see that. That was incredible. Thanks for being here.” Said Keselowski

The NASCAR Cup Series now moves onto NASCAR’s oldest track, North Wilkesboro Speedway next Sunday, May 19th for the NASCAR All Star Race at 8:00 p.m. ET on FS1.