Author: Reid Spencer
Date: Sept. 1, 2018
DARLINGTON, S.C. – Brad Keselowski took the lead in Saturday’s Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 at Darlington Raceway when the two cars in front of him tangled off Turn 2.
That was all the driver of the No. 2 Team Penske Ford needed to collect his first NASCAR Xfinity Series victory at the Track Too Tough to Tame.
From a restart on Lap 91, Keselowski chased pole winner and race leader Ross Chastain, who won the first and second stages in his maiden run in the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. On Lap 104, Keselowski pulled ahead in Turn 3 but brushed the outside wall as Chastain regained the top spot with a crossover move to the inside.
Keselowski’s bobble allowed Harvick to pass for second, but on Lap 111, Harvick and Chastain collided off Turn 2 and handed the top spot to Keselowski, who held it the rest of the way.
With his third victory in five starts this season and the 39th of his career, Keselowski knocked a significant item off his bucket list. Darlington and Sonoma had been the only two active NASCAR tracks where Keselowski had raced without a national touring series win.
“I really wanted to run this race for that reason,” said Keselowski, who beat runner-up Cole Custer to the finish line by .738 seconds. “I just haven’t been that great here at the (Monster Energy NASCAR) Cup level, and I’m trying to get better.
“This is such a huge confidence boost.”
Had Chastain and Harvick not wrecked together, the ending might have been quite different.
“I could keep up with Ross, but I couldn’t pass him — he was so fast,” Keselowski said. “Tried to make the move and brushed the wall, and he got back by me, and then they had the wreck off of (Turn) 2, and I was able to take advantage of the opportunity.”
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