Brad Keselowski Wins The Advance Auto Parts Clash As The Field Crashes Behind Him

by February 11, 2018 0 comments

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Brad Keselowski prevailed in Sunday’s Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway, capturing the victory with a large piece of debris across the nose of his Team Penske No. 2 Miller Lite Ford.

Seventeen race winners, NASCAR Playoff drivers from 2017, former Daytona 500 winners and former Daytona 500 pole winners took to the track on Sunday afternoon for 75 laps around the 2.5-mile superspeedway.

Keselowski took the victory after leading 43 laps, while his Team Penske teammate Joey Logano finished in second. Kurt Busch finished in the third position. Ryan Blaney and Austin Dillon completed the top-five in the finishing order.

“It was a good day for sure,” Keselowski said. “I thought it was a good race. We were able to work our way from last to first. That feels good to me. And we did that a number of ways. I think one, through making some passes there early on. We got up to, I think, third or fourth, and kind of stalled there, and right before the yellow, we fell back to right about eighth, and obviously just couldn’t get the right run to break through. I needed a few more laps there, and we pitted and kind of just had a great sequence on the pit side, got to the lead, and we had those restarts in succession there. It was just kind of a dogfight, I think, between a handful of cars. The 9 (Chase Elliott) was really good, the 22  (Joey Logano), and of course my teammate Ryan Blaney was really strong.

“From there, we got good pushes on the restart and we were able to get back by the 9 car, who I thought he was screaming fast, and just kind of controlled the tempo of the race from there.  Just deliberately working the lanes and doing what we needed to do. And of course as we got towards the end and I had both my teammates behind me, that wasn’t a bad feeling at all.”

The first of two crashes on Sunday occurred on lap 35, when Jamie McMurray was sent into the Turn 4 wall after slight contact from Kurt Busch. McMurray was unable to continue, and he finished 17th.

“I just got really loose,” McMurray said. “I haven’t seen a replay so I don’t know if it was circumstantial based on the car behind me or what happened, but I just drove in the corner and it just got out from underneath me and chased it and wasn’t able to catch it.”

In a controversial call on lap 41, Kyle Busch left Ricky Stenhouse Jr. without room in the bottom lane, sending him below the yellow line, where he gained position. The move ended with Stenhouse being penalized with a pass-through penalty. Stenhouse Jr. eventually ended the event a lap down in 16th.

On the final lap, Ryan Blaney went to make a pass on Keselowski for the lead, but an ill-timed move sent him falling back on the lower lane. Keselowski was able to hold on to the lead, even as chaos broke out behind him.

Sunday’s Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway carried on without a multi-car wreck until the white flag, where the field ended the event in a pile-up after Kyle Larson tapped the bumper of Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet, sending him head on into the outside wall.

“Yeah, that’s the first time I’ve went to push somebody and I hit him pretty solid and just turned him into the wall,” Larson said. “I hate that I was the one that caused the wreck.”

Other drivers caught up in the last-lap crash included Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Chase Elliott and Martin Truex Jr.

Following the first exhibition race of the season, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series now prepares for the Can-Am Duel on Thursday, February 15th, where 40 drivers will battle in two split events to set the starting lineup for the Daytona 500.

Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

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