Brad Keselowski raced to his third consecutive NASCAR Cup victory Sunday, persevering via a wreck-filled Sunday afternoon and roaring away from the sector in time beyond regulation to assert the playoff opener.
Keselowski secured workforce proprietor Roger Penske’s 500th victory throughout all competitions with a resourceful efficiency amid attempting circumstances and 99-degree Las Vegas warmth.
Kyle Larson was second, and defending Cup collection champion Martin Truex Jr. third after a stop-and-start end to a race that featured 12 cautions.
“To start out off the playoffs with a win, that is actually robust, not to mention three in a row,” Keselowski stated. “We nailed the pit stops and the restarts when it counted, and we had been robust.”
Eight of the 16 playoff drivers had varied issues within the opener of the 10-race postseason. 4 playoff drivers failed to complete — together with co-leader Kevin Harvick, who wrecked with 120 laps to go when he blew his proper entrance tire.
Michael McDowell and Kurt Busch wrecked with simply two laps to go, forcing a red-flag cease and time beyond regulation. After the drivers re-fired their engines for the two-lap shootout, no one may sustain with Keselowski’s Workforce Penske Ford.
“We did it, boss!” Keselowski shouted. “That is fairly a quantity, proper? It is actually nice to be part of that, and to get the final one to get us there, that is fairly nice.”
Penske was in attendance for his landmark victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He fashioned Workforce Penske in 1966, and it has fielded 50 successful drivers throughout 14 race collection through the ensuing 52 years.
Keselowski received at Darlington and the Brickyard in consecutive weeks earlier than Vegas. His late surge has added some intrigue right into a NASCAR season dominated by the Massive Three of Truex, Harvick and Kyle Busch, who completed seventh in Vegas even after skidding and plowing via the infield grass with 35 laps to go.
Joey Logano completed fourth, and Ryan Blaney was fifth.
Truex moved into the general factors lead over Busch and Keselowski, who leapfrogged Harvick.
Harvick’s blowout additionally wrecked pole-sitter Erik Jones, who could not react shortly sufficient and rear-ended Harvick.
Harvick probably would not want a unbelievable consequence from the primary set of playoff races to advance, however the veteran driver was nonetheless livid about his tire failure.
“We had an ideal automotive, and then you definately put a set of tires on it and you’ll’t hardly make it via the sector,” he stated. “I am not completely happy about something proper now.”
Las Vegas has a second race this season for the primary time, and the drivers discovered that the observe is far completely different within the waning days of summer time. The temperature reached solely 58 levels through the annual March race, however the drivers had been sweating in 99-degree warmth from the beginning on Sunday.
The desert solar made the 1 1/2-mile observe even slicker than typical, and it appeared to wreak havoc with some groups’ tire strain selections.