Brad Keselowski Pulls Off Last-Lap Pass On Kyle Larson To Win At Pocono Racewayby Benjamin Sanders June 10, 2017 0 comments
LONG POND, Pa. – Despite adversity on the final restart, Brad Keselowski triumphed with a last-lap pass on Kyle Larson to win Saturday afternoon’s Pocono Green 250 at Pocono Raceway.
On the final restart with 16 laps to go, Keselowski was shoved into Turn 1 and out of the groove by Elliott Sadler, who drove by to take over the lead. Undeterred and running outside of the top-10, Keselowski passed Justin Allgaier with a handful of laps remaining to move into the second position. Keselowski, the driver of the Team Penske No. 22 SKF Ford downshifted and passed Larson on the Long Pond Straightaway to take the lead on the final lap. He drove all the way down to the apron to hold off Larson and Allgaier to claim his first series victory of the year.
“We were leading or second or whatever it was,” Keselowski said. “Elliott gave me a good push to clear the 00 but it carried all the way into Turn 1. I got down there and my rear tires were off the ground and went straight trying not to back it into the wall. Kind of a never give up. It felt like 30th. I drove by a bunch of cars and just pushed as hard as I could. It looked like Kyle’s (Larson) car was struggling just a little bit and he was getting tight in the middle, loose off. He was doing a really good job holding it low so I couldn’t get a run. Just on the last lap I got on his bumper and got him loose. He was trying to do the side draft thing down the backstretch and all the way down the apron.”
Keselowski was the class of the field by winning the first two stages. He remained upfront for 29 laps despite a multitude of different pit strategies. Keselowski charged from eighth on the start to pass pole-sitter and rookie, Kyle Benjamin on lap 22. He went on to lead for a total of five occasions. Keselowski pitted at the end of both stages and with under 40 laps to go to make the race on three stops. The victory snapped a losing streak for the Team Penske No.22 car, which stretches back to the fall of 2015 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Allgaier rallied from having an extremely tight race car to finish second on Saturday. The driver of the JR Motorsports No. 7 Allan Myers Chevrolet was on an alternate strategy by attempting to make the final 53 laps on fuel after pitting right before the second segment ended. When Brandon Jones’ left rear tire exploded to bring out the caution on lap 80, Allgaier pitted from the lead and charged through the field on fresh tires. With the runner-up finish, Allgaier will now jumps to the top of the standings with Elliott Sadler trailing in second by one point.
Larson held on to finish third, but he was another driver that struggled with his car being tight, especially in traffic. He got to the lead for the first time on lap 85 after he took advantage of Keselowski’s trouble on the restart. The driver of the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 ENEOS Chevrolet obtained the lead when he drove underneath race leader, Sadler in Turn 3. The third-place finish marks his second top-three in-a-row. He won at Dover International Speedway last weekend.
Rounding out the top-five were Sadler and Daniel Suarez, the latter of which, recovered from a speeding penalty during his green flag stop with less than 40 laps remaining. The remainder of the top-10 included: Brendan Gaughan, Cole Custer, Ty Dillon, Daniel Hemric and Matt Tifft.
Darrell Wallace Jr.’s final race in the Roush Fenway Racing No. 6 Ford Mustang resulted in an 11th place finish and valuable experience for his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut in Sunday’s Axalta presents the Pocono 400.
Easely, South Carolina’s Kyle Benjamin was impressive in only his second-career NASCAR XFINITY Series race after leading from the start and running with Keselowski throughout much of the race until the late stages. He led 28 laps during the Pocono Green 250, but ultimately, he finished a disappointing 16th place.
“We had a great car all day and got a lot of experience out there, got to race around a lot of people and learn the aero a little better,” Benjamin, driver of the No. 20 Hisense Toyota said. “The Hisense Camry was really good, we just got some damage a little bit on the left side on the last restart and it made it to where I was wrecking loose at the end the balance was out of whack and just didn’t have anything for them there.”
The next race for the NASCAR XFINITY Series is the XFINITY 250 at the Michigan International Speedway on Saturday, June 10. Live coverage will be found on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 1:30 p.m. ET.
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