RIDGEWAY, Va.— Brad Keselowski was able to hold off and set sail to give Roger Penske and Ford Performance the victory in Sunday’s STP 500.
“This is awesome. We’ve ran so good here with the Miller Lite Ford, but something always happens and we haven’t been able to bring it home. Martinsville is just one of those champion’s tracks. The guys that run well everywhere run well here, and it’s really just an honor to win here and get to compete here. This track is 70 years old and a lot of legends have won here. It feels great to be able to join them and bring home a clock,” said Keselowski in victory lane.
This is Ford’s first win at Martinsville since 2002 with Kurt Busch, and Team Penske’s first win at Martinsville since 2004 with Rusty Wallace. This is Keselowski’s second victory in 2017.
The first stage started with an early surge from pole sitter Kyle Larson. Larson was able to lead the first 22 circuits, but as he was battling lapped traffic, Keselowski was able to pass him. That sent Larson dropping through the field. Keselowski was on point until the caution flew on lap 70. During the pit stops, Keselowski was busted for speeding resulting in him starting from the back of the field. Martin Truex Jr. assumed the race lead to go on to dominate and win the stage. Denny Hamlin finished second in the first stage, Kyle Busch finished third, Keselowski finished fourth, and Chase Elliott rounded out the top-five.
Many drivers stayed out at the conclusion of the stage because they pitted 13 laps before hand. To start the second stage, Ky. Busch was the race leader, Elliott restarted second, Ryan Blaney restarted third, Logano restarted fourth, and Erik Jones rounded out the top-five.
The second stage belonged to Ky. Busch. Busch dominated the second stage, but came up short on the playoff point. As Ky. Busch was putting cars a lapped down, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was trying to stay on the lead lap, but failed to do so. As the stage closed, Stenhouse was able to get on the bumper of Busch coming off the fourth turn on the final lap of the stage. That bump was able to give Elliott the advantage and the stage win. Ky. Busch finished second, Keselowski finished third, Jimmie Johnson finished fourth, and Blaney rounded out the top-five in the second stage.
Elliott won the stage off pit road, Ky. Busch was second, Johnson was third, Keselowski was fourth, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounded out the top-five to start the final stage.
The final stage was prominently dominated once again by Ky. Busch. The first laps of the stage were unable to get in a rhythm as the caution flew five times for 25 laps. Once the race was able to get into a rhythm, Ky. Busch was able to lead 65 laps before Keselowski began to close in. The lead swapped between Keselowski and Busch numerous times. The final pass on Busch for Keselowski was the money move. Keseloski was able to move Kyle Busch up the race track and set sail for victory.
Ky. Busch finished second, Elliott finished third, Logano finished fourth, and Austin Dillon rounded out the top-five in the STP 500.
The caution flew 14 times for 95 laps. The lead changed 18 times among 17 drivers. The average speed was 70.139 mph. The time of race was three hours, 44 minutes, and 59 seconds.
Kyle Larson still holds the points lead by four points over Chase Elliott, Truex Jr. is third in points only 32 points behind Larson, Keselowski is 34 points behind in fourth, and Logano rounds out the top-five in points 61 back.
Next up for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is the O’Rielly Auto Parts 500 from Texas Motor Speedway on April 9th at 1:30 p.m. EST on FOX and Performance Racing Network.
Three days removed from the Camping World 500 at Phoenix, massive penalties were handed down to the teams of two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick.
Keselowski and his No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford team finished fifth in the 314-lap race but that finish will now be encumbered as they failed post-race inspection. Along with crew chief Paul Wolfe being suspended for the next three races and fined $65,000, the team also loses 35 driver and owner points. This is known as a L1 penalty. Although he already has a win from Atlanta a few weeks ago, Keselowski took a hit in the points standings, moving from second to fourth.
Harvick’s team was also assessed a L1 penalty for an unimproved track bar mount, which was discovered earlier today at the NASCAR R&D Center in Concord, NC. Crew chief Rodney Childers has been, suspended for the upcoming weekend at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, fined $25,000. The No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford team also lost 10 driver and owner points, which bumped Harvick from seventh in the MENCS standings to ninth.
According to NBC Sports’ NASCAR America, the No. 2 team will evaluate on whether to appeal. The car returned to the shop from the west coast and the area that NASCAR found to be violated is being evaluated as well. While there has been no word from Stewart-Haas Racing on whether the team will appeal or who will sub for Childers, Brian Wilson, former chief engineer on the Keselowski team will be on the pit box in California.
After running into Cole Custer under caution during the NXS race in Phoenix, the DC Solar 200, Austin Dillon will not be penalized. The driver of the No. 2 Rheem Chevrolet was parked after 190 laps.
AJ Allmendinger’s No. 47 Chevrolet crew chief Randall Burnett has sat out of the west coast swing after only 17 of 20 lugnuts were found tight at Atlanta. Burnett was fined $65,000 and suspended for three races. The team’s appeal was upheld earlier today.
HAMPTON, Ga.— In a race dominated by Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski was able to gain the victory after a pit road mishap in the closing laps by Harvick in the Folds of Honor QuickTrip 500 from Atlanta Motor Speedway. This is his 22nd career victory in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. This is his first career win at Atlanta.
"You never know. That’s how these races are. We had a lot of adversity today there’s not doubt about that. These races aren’t easy. They’re 500 miles and a lot can happen and when you think you’ve got it they slip away. I know how it goes,” said Keselowski post-race. “This one kind of fell in our lap at the end and my team put it all together when it counted. They gave me a great Autotrader Ford Fusion and we were able to get by Kyle (Larson) there at the end. I knew that he wasn’t going to be easy to pass. His car was great and I was able to make the right moves to get by him."
The first stage saw the dominance of Harvick. Keselowski was the silent force in second through much of the first segment. The early stages saw Joey Logano and Jamie McMurray tag each other and the wall, but both drivers were able to continue. Harvick won the first stage, Keselowski was second, Chase Elliott was third, Martin Truex Jr. was fourth, and Logano rounded out the top-five. Harvick wins race of pit road.
The second stage saw the continued dominance of Harvick. Keselowski began to use the short pitting strategy towards the middle of the segment. As green flag pit stops occurred, Keselowski cycled to the lead for only 12 laps. However, with newer tires for Harvick, he quickly regained the lead to win the second stage. Elliott finished second, Ryan Newman finished third, Truex Jr. finished fourth, and Kyle Larson rounded out the top-five.
The third stage was one of magic for Keselowski and his team. As the third stage began to progress, weather began to change the complexion of the race. In the earlier portion of the third stage, Keselowski began to grab the handling back in his vehicle. The race began to change as drivers were getting caught for speeding on pit road. The caution flew for debris and then for a blew engine. As the leaders hit pit road, Keselowski was able to win the race off pit road. However, Keselowski had to go back down pit road to make sure all the lug nuts were tight on the tires. After the issue, Keselowski was able to put himself in prime position on the final restart. The final caution of the race flew as Austin Dillon was stopped on the racetrack due to battery issues. Keselowski started second on the restart after Larson assumed the lead. Keselowski and Larson battled for the top position. Larson would run the high side, but Keselowski used the low lane to pass Larson and grab the victory.
Larson finished second, Kenseth finished third, Kasey Kahne finished fourth, and Elliott rounded out the top-five.
The race was slowed six times for 32 laps. There were nine different lead changes among five different drivers.
Next up for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is a trip to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Kobalt Tools 400. The race will be broadcasted on Performance Racing Network and FOX beginning at 3:30 p.m. EST.
After a race dominated by Toyota and Denny Hamlin — who led 48 of 75 laps— and a last lap pass attempt by Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano wound up with victory in the Advanced Auto Parts Clash at Daytona to kick off the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Season on a high note.
This is Logano’s first win in the Clash. Logano joins Kurt Busch and Rusty Wallace in the hall of Clash victories for Team Penske.
“It’s cool to win the Clash. We came so close last year and it’s really neat to be in Victory Lane and a good start to our day,” said Logano post race.
Logano started the race in the ninth position, but quickly saw his way to the front of the field quickly with Keselowski and Ford teammate, Kevin Harvick. The Ford contingent kept strong to hold off the Toyota contingent of Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, and Daniel Suarez.
Logano quickly lost his drafting partner when Keselowski was busted on pit road for driving through too many pit boxes.
When the race restarted, Logano held his own while trying to battle with the Joe Gibbs Racing contingent. With one lap remaining in the first segment, Joe Gibbs Racing teammates and Alex Bowman dived onto pit road leaving Logano with the lead as the first segment ended.
That move by Toyota gave them the upper hand when it came to the second segment as they lead the top-four positions for majority of the second segment.
Logano went quiet for most of the second segment awaiting Keselowski, but when the time was right Keselowski worked his way through the field to Logano. Logano began pushing Keselowski towards the lead, helping to side-draft the Joe Gibbs Racing contingent.
When the white flag flew, Logano and Keselowski made their way to the second and third position. Logano was third as Keselowski, made contact with Hamlin spinning him. Logano quickly moved to the outside of the turn to the lead gaining a huge advantage over Ky. Busch.
“I had to make the move. I know all the other drivers are back watching and they know not to make that block on me again,” said Keselowski about the move he had to make.
“There’s really not much I can do differently at the end. Perhaps staying in the middle lane there through one and two and trying to side draft. He (Brad Keselowski) had help from the 22 (Joey Logano). I was in a bad spot there. He was just coming so much faster than what I was,” said Hamlin. “There’s not much that I could have done to defend. We lined up so well as Toyota teammates throughout the race that once those guys started breaking that up and leap frogging, he (Keselowski) had commitment from the 22 and the 4 (Kevin Harvick) and when they were able to back up there that really put us at a speed differential.”
Hamlin ended up finishing 13th, while Keselowski finished sixth after their collision on the exit of turn two.
Logano scored Ford Performance’s first victory in the Clash since 2004 when Dale Jarrett won the race.
Ky. Busch finished second, Bowman finished third, Danica Patrick finishes fourth, and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top-five.
Brad Keseloski and Martin Truex Jr. saw their championship hopes dashed during Sunday’s Hellmann’s 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.
Truex Jr. was running in the top-10 for the first 40 laps. However, his engine expired shortly after green-flag pit-stops cycled through. The expiration of the engine was a surprise for Truex Jr.
“Just developed a vibration and started to lose a little bit of power. Originally I thought it could have been a tire because it was shaking worse and worse and worse until it was time to pit. I slowed down to hit pit road and felt the vibration still there and knew it was the engine,” said Truex.
After dominating the first round of the Chase, the second round started off on the wrong foot at Charlotte. Those struggles continued to struggle throughout the “Round of 12”. Truex described this round of the chase as a “rollercoaster”. He wishes he would have had better runs at Charlotte and Kansas in an effort to have a “free pass” this weekend at Talladega.
Despite his struggles in the second round, Truex is still confident and proud in his team. “They’ve worked so hard this year to put us in the position to battle for a championship and we felt like we could do it. This year and this sport is tough and we didn’t perform at Kansas and Charlotte the way we were capable and we had some issues there and that put us in the hole and if we could have went there and done better and maybe got a win then we wouldn’t be talking about this right now. We didn’t get the job done, but we’ve got a great team and we’ve got four more races to go out there and try to get a win and I know we can win all four of them and that’s what we’re going to try to do.”
For Keselowski, his engine expired as he was running, but the problem could have been avoided. While leading the race, Keselowski had gained a piece of debris on his grille.
While leading the race, Paul Wolfe, crew chief, and Joey Mier, spotter, were arguing about what Keselowski should do to get the debris off. They finally reached a point of consensus to let Ryan Blaney get in front of Keselowski to get the debris off the grille. However, shortly after the move was made, the engine expired off the backstretch bringing out the caution.
“Something let go. I’m not sure exactly what, but it’s unfortunate. We had a really fast Miller Lite Ford and that kind of ended our day. It was a lot of fun to be leading at Talladega. I really like this track. It’s been good to us and there are a lot of great fans here today. We were doing the best we could to make a show of it and have some fun and lead some laps and just happy and proud to have a fast car,” said Keselowski.
Due to the engine issues, Keselowski and Truex Jr. were eliminated from the Chase for the Sprint Cup. The plan for both drivers is to win the remaining four races of the season.