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NASCAR Cup: Brad Keselowski scores win at Bristol

BRISTOL, TENNESSEE – MAY 31: Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Discount Tire Ford, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Food City presents the Supermarket Heroes 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on May 31, 2020 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Brad Keselowski claimed his second NASCAR Cup Series win of 2020, his second in the last thee races, Sunday when he took the checkered flag in Supermarket Heroes 500 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. The win was the third of Keselowski’s career at Bristol.

Chase Elliott and Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano were on the front row for the final restart of the race with five laps remaining. A side-by-side battle for the lead between the two drivers with three laps to go in the race resulted in both drivers hitting the wall and Keselowski taking his race-winning lead.

“We kind of got a Christmas present, here, in Bristol,” Keselowski said. ”We’ll take it. We’re in position and able to strike when it counted with the Discount Tire Ford Mustang. Joey and Chase got together, there. I don’t know what all caused it, but we were just in position to strike, and here we are in victory lane.”

Clint Bowyer finished second, Jimmie Johnson third, and the Joe Gibbs Racing duo of Kyle Busch and Erik Jones rounded out the top-five. Keselowski, Busch and Logano were among several drivers throughout the 500-lap race on the receiving end of pit-road speeding penalties.

The final restart was the result of a 17th-caution for a Denny Hamlin spin with 10 laps to go. Hamlin was the race leader when his car got loose with 11 laps to go, allowing, first, Logano, and then, Elliott to take the lead.

Elliott won both of the 125-lap stages in the first half of the race. He won the opening stage after taking the lead from Ryan Blaney on lap 105. The Team Penske duo of Keselowski and Blaney combined to lead nearly all the laps to that point. Keselowski started on the pole and ran up front until Matt DiBenedetto stayed out to inherit the lead during a lap-60 competition caution. Keselowski retook the lead when the race restarted, but that lead was short-lived, as Blaney took the lead from his teammate on lap 84.

Blaney also led in the second stage, getting off pit road first during the caution after the first stage to restart first early in stage two. Keselowski took the lead from him on lap 170, and on lap 198, Blaney retired from the race after spinning and, then, being clipped by Ty Dillon. 

“I was running up there for a little bit,” Blaney said. ”I didn’t think I was that high, and all of a sudden, I hit a slick spot. I was way high, and that’s, obviously, not where I wanted to be, but I didn’t think I was that high getting in there. It might have just been trying to get too much and got in the marbles and spun out. I thought we were gonna be okay, and then, we got destroyed about six seconds later, so that’s just Bristol and a part of Bristol. I probably shouldn’t have been pushing that hard but trying to get back to the lead. I thought we found some speed up there, just a mistake on my part. I hate it for Menards and Richmond and everybody on this 12 team. After having two strong weeks, you go and you wreck not even halfway, so that’s just a bummer. We’ll go to Atlanta and see what we can do.”

Elliott retook the lead by being first out of the pits during the caution for the Blaney-Dillon wreck.

A multi-car crash that began when Johnson got into Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and included Cole Custer, Tyler Reddick, Kurt Busch and Alex Bowman put the race under the red flag with about 20 laps remaining during the second stage that ended on lap 250. Elliott was still in the lead at the red flag and remained up front through the end of stage two at the midway point of the race.

After his second stage win, Elliott gave up the lead to pit. Meanwhile, Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Hamlin and Busch were among the drivers who stayed out to restart on the front row, Hamlin as the race leader. Both Hamlin and Busch led laps before Elliott took the lead upon Hamlin’s mishap. Ultimately, Hamlin led a race-high 131 laps.

Austin Dillon finished sixth after a pit-road speeding penalty, Kurt Busch finished seventh, William Byron was eighth, Christopher Bell was ninth, and Darrell Wallace Jr. finished 10th after two pit-road speeding penalties.

Below, is the complete finishing order of the Supermarket Heroes 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway:

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Posted by on June 1, 2020. Filed under Breaking News,Cup Series,Featured,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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