Brad Keselowski Sweeps Darlington With Bojangles’ Southern 500 Winby Camille Jones September 2, 2018 0 comments
DARLINGTON, S.C. – Brad Keselowski stole the victory from a dominant Kyle Larson in Sunday’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway to claim his first win of the 2018 season and Team Penske’s first at the track Too Tough To Tame since 1975.
Larson led 284 laps in Sunday’s 367-lap race in his No. 42 DC Solar Chevrolet, but Keselowski was in the position to strike after going three-wide to take the lead off of pit road under the final caution of the night. When the field took the green flag for the final restart with 19 laps to go Keselowski pulled away and held on for the win, his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory at the track.
Keselowski led just 24 laps on his way to Victory Lane in his Team Penske No. 2 Miller Genuine Draft Ford, sweeping both the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series events at Darlington Raceway.
“I’ve got to give a lot of credit to my pit crew,” Keselowski said. “We were running second and that last stop they nailed it and got us out in the lead. I thought Kyle was really good, and he was flat-out flying. I know how it goes. In 2015 we led a bunch of laps and lost it on the last pit stop and today my team won it on the last pit stop. Then it was just about me hitting all my marks and not screwing it up. How cool is this winning in Rusty Wallace’s Throwback car, the Southern 500, Throwback Weekend.”
Keselowski’s teammate, Joey Logano was able to slip by Larson as well, giving the Team Penske a one-two finish at the historic track.
“We had a good car,” Logano said. “We were like a third-place car and whether it was a short run or a long run it didn’t really matter. We made some adjustments there at the end to take off a little bit better, but I didn’t get by the 42 in time to try to run down the 2. We were just matching lap times, so I couldn’t catch him enough. I was just hoping lap traffic would screw it up enough to try to catch him, but one-two for Team Penske, that’s pretty cool.”
After what appeared to be a night he’d be celebrating, Larson was forced to settle for a third-place finish on Sunday night. Larson’s dominate performance carried him on to win both, Stages 1 and 2 in the event. Larson led through all of the final stage until the caution flag flew with 23 laps to go.
“It’s always important to come out the leader off pit road or be the control car on the restart,” Larson said. “I felt like if I could have been in clean air, I would have been all right. All day when I would get in traffic I’d get loose. There on that last run I was just really loose and allowed Joey (Logano) to get by. I knew the only really weakness we would have throughout the race was a short run and that’s what it kind of came down to. On long runs, I was just really, really good all race long. That was good. Hat’s off to everybody back at our race shop. This car was extremely fast. We had the dominant car and we proved it. We just came up a little bit short.”
Kevin Harvick earned the fourth-place finishing position, while Chase Elliott finished in fifth. Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Erik Jones, Jamie McMurray and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top-10 in the finishing order.
The track that’s Too Tough To Tame claimed several victims on Sunday night. There were six cautions for a total of 35 laps run under yellow-flag conditions.
With just one race remaining before the cut-off for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, Kyle Busch leads the standings by 39 points over Kevin Harvick.
Following the Bojangles’ Southern 500, Denny Hamlin and Aric Almirola have clinched a spot in the NASCAR Playoffs based on points.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Indianapolis Motor Speedway next weekend for the Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday, September 9. The race will mark the final race of the regular season for the series, setting the lineup for the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. Live coverage will be found on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) at 2 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Hunter Thomas/TheFourthTurn.com
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