Brad Keselowski led the field to green and survived what was a chaotic, 500-mile race at Texas Motor Speedway Sunday afternoon to finish eighth in the ROUSHParts.com Ford.
The race spanned well over four hours as a record 16 cautions flew for 91 laps, and an unexpected thunderstorm caused a lightning delay midway between stage two and three. In total, 19 different drivers led a lap for 36 lead changes, with Keselowski leading the fourth-most laps with 31.
He paced the field to green after earning the pole in Saturday’s qualifying session. The 2012 Cup Champion went on to lead the first 31 laps before settling into what was an eventful afternoon.
An early speeding penalty under the first yellow of the afternoon put Keselowski to the tail end of the field, but he wasted no time in charging back through. In total five cautions flew in the opening stage of 105 laps with Keselowski crossing the stripe eighth.
He began the second stage from 22nd after taking right-side tires in the stage break. The strategy paid off as he improved eight positions in a span of 26 laps and had worked his way to 12th at lap 168. A flurry of three yellows occurred in a stretch of just 30 laps as Keselowski again used a restart and short-run speed to improve from 15th to seventh in just seven laps.
After advancing to sixth with 10 laps remaining in the second stage, he crossed the stripe fourth. From there, light rain fell across the racing surface, and lightning ultimately caused a red flag and delay that would last just under an hour in length.
The Michigan native would restart 16th once the weather cleared, but again had worked his way back inside the top-10 just 12 laps into the green-flag run. He pitted from the sixth position with 92 to go and lined up 16th on the ensuing restart. Another four caution flags stood between there and the checkered flag as Keselowski worked his way back to seventh with 66 to go. Following the final pit stop of the night with 65 to go, Keselowski restarted 17th with 57 to go and picked off multiple positions in the closing laps for the eighth-place finish.
Talladega Superspeedway – where Keselowski is the winningest active driver – is the next stop on the Cup Series schedule next weekend. Race coverage next Sunday from Alabama is set for 2 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.