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NASCAR Cup: Brad Keselowski leads Team Penske 1-2 Clash finish

No. 2 Team Penske Ford of Brad Keselowski (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)

No. 2 Team Penske Ford of Brad Keselowski (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)


Brad Keselowski went from last to first in the 17-driver, 75 lap Advance Auto Parts Clash exhibition race for some of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series’ finest at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway on Sunday. After starting 17th as a result of a blind draw by crew chiefs on Saturday, he was up front by a restart following a lap-25 caution and dominated the remainder of the race for the win.

“I was worried about the run, but the car was way overheating, there, at the end, and I was more worried about it blowing up than anything else,” Keselowski said, referring to a piece of debris that clinged to the front of his car late in the race. “Doug Yates and his guys did a good job giving me something real durable to take all that and keep digging. I am really proud of the whole effort, here. What a way to start Speedweeks, putting the Miller Lite Ford in victory lane. I am really proud of my team.”

Team Penske took a one-two finish, with Keselowski’s teammate Joey Logano claiming runner-up honors.

“It is fun when you are up there running, and you don’t know what is going to happen,” Logano said. “The suspense keeps building as you are running single-file. Three to go, two to go, here comes the white flag. When do you make the move? Do you make a move? Sometimes you make it, and it is never the right thing. Everything has to time out just right. You are waiting to see what everyone else is going to do, and you are thinking about the type of people they are and what the possible moves are they will make. Then, as soon as we hit the white flag, Blaney was able to go to the bottom. I had to stay on top, because I would have gotten passed by the 48 (Jimmie Johnson). I thought I would get a good push on the backstretch. The 41 (Kurt Busch) had a hell of a run. Then, they wadded them up.”

Throughout most of the second half of the race, most of the race field ran single-file, with Kevin Harvick being one of only a small handful of drivers trying to make a race of going for positions. With little to know drafting help, Harvick dropped toward the back. Others waited until the final lap to get out of line to make attempts at the win. For drivers including Jimmie Johnson, Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr., Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch, those last-minute attempts at the win resulted in a final-lap wreck.

“Yeah, that’s the first time I’ve went to push somebody, and I hit him (Johnson) pretty solid and just turned him into the wall,” Larson said. “I hate that I was the one that caused the wreck. I still haven’t seen a replay. Obviously, I know I’m the one that started that, but I’d just like to see if I did hit him as hard as I think I did, or what, or if our bumpers just don’t line up as well with the new Camaros, or what. But I hate that I was the one to do that.”

Prior to the last-lap fan-out, Team Penske drivers held down the top-three spots in the running order, with Keselowski and Logano joined by new teammate, Ryan Blaney, but when Blaney got out of line to attempt to improve his position in the running order, he, instead, lost spots. He still finished in the top-five, though, finishing fourth.

“I was just really trying to time the run, and that is what I was messing with with Joey behind me,” Blaney said. “I thought we were in a good spot. Even though Brad is one of the best at doing this, I thought we had a good chance at it. We had a decent run through the tri-oval, and I probably didn’t pull out at a very good time. I thought it was enough, but I got hunt out. I should know better than that. I need to learn from that. I am proud of our team today, Menards and Peak, our first race with them. I think we learned a bunch for next week. I hope we can apply it.”

Kurt Busch and pole sitter Austin Dillon finished third and fifth, respectively.

After Dillon started the race on the pole, Elliott and Denny Hamlin combined to lead most of the first 25 laps before a competition caution. Keselowski took over on the first restart.

The yellow flag waved only one other time for a Jamie McMurray wreck on lap 34. Elliott was back up front for the final restart, but when the race returned to green, Keselowski got back to the front and dominated the remainder of the race.

After losing the lead for the final time, Elliott struggled with an ill-handling car throughout the remainder of the race.

Hamlin finished sixth, Kyle Busch seventh, Erik Jones eighth, Harvick ninth, and Larson rounded out the top-10.

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Posted by on February 11, 2018. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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