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NASCAR Xfinity: Brad Keselowski wins at ISM Raceway

AVONDALE, AZ – MARCH 10: Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Fitzgerald Glider Kits Ford, poses in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series DC Solar 200 at ISM Raceway on March 10, 2018 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

After two rain delays and a pit-road speeding penalty, Brad Keselowski was victorious in the DC Solar 200 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at ISM Raceway near Phoenix on Saturday.

“Brian Wilson made some great adjustments to the car, and the weather kind of came to us with what we needed for how our car was handling,” Keselowski said. “It is good to see that work out for everyone at Team Penske with the Fitzgerald Glider Ford Mustang. It was a solid team effort. I wasn’t perfect today by any stretch of the imagination, but the car was really strong. Really, really good for about 50-60 laps. The last 20 laps it would fall off pretty good but the guys made it count. I am really proud of them.”

Justin Allgaier and Kyle Busch finished second and third. The top-three finishers combined to lead 181 of the 200-laps that made up the race, led by Allgaier’s 76 laps read. Keselowski led 66 laps, and after Allgaier started on the pole and Keselowski alongside on the front row, Allgaier and Keselowski combined to lead the total distance of the first 45-lap stage, with Allgaier taking the stage win.

“Justin ran a great race today,” Keselowski said. “I honestly thought he out-drove me most of the day. He was really strong.”

After the first delay for rain that came when the race was already under caution between the first two stages, the previous front-runners, also including Busch, were mired back in the field as a result of pit strategies, with some drivers pitting during an early-race caution for David Starr and others at the end of the first stage. Keselowski was farther back after his speeding penalty. By lap 62, though, Busch and Allgaier were in the top-two.

When the yellow flag waved for Matt Mills just before lap 84, Allgaier and Keselowski pitted, while Busch retained his lead by staying out. Busch was still up front at the end of the second 45-lap stage after another brief red flag for rain.

Busch pitted before the restart at the beginning of the final 110-lap stage of the race, handing the lead back over to Allgaier. Bell restarted second to Allgaier, but when the race returned to green, Keselowski took second, and then, the lead on lap 143.

Christopher Bell took the lead from Keselowski just before final green-flag pit stops and was side-by-side with Keselowski getting out of the pits with 31 laps remaining. On lap 179, Keselowski took his final lead of the race.

“I am really bummed we didn’t get a better finish after that long run and taking the lead,” Bell said. “I really felt like we had something for him (Keselowski). “Our Rheem Camry was really strong on the long run, and we lacked on the short run. We were just a little bit too loose. I am still proud of our partners Rheem, GameStop, Toyota and TRD (Toyota Racing Development). Thank you for the fans for sticking it out today, and we’ll try to get another top finish next week.”

Bell finished fourth, and Jamie McMurray rounded out the top-five in his first Xfinity Series race since 2013. Other top-10 finishers included Daniel Hemric, Matt Tifft, Cole Custer, Elliott Sadler and Tyler Reddick.

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Posted by on March 11, 2018. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR,NASCAR Xfinity. 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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