Brad Keselowski led five times for 38 laps, finished top-10 in each of the stages, and went on to finish fourth in the BuildSubmaries.com Ford Mustang at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Sunday afternoon.
“We just executed really well on pit road, with strategy and on restarts,” Keselowski said after the race. “We executed really well, but I feel like we needed a touch more speed and a few breaks to go our way to be able to win. Kyle (Larson) was just a little faster. If we were in front of him, I think we might have been able to hold him off, but he was just really fast.”
In total, the three-time Vegas winner led the third-most laps of any driver in the field, finishing just behind the playoff cars of the No. 5 and No. 20 in the first stage, and fifth in the second stage. It marked Keselowski’s seventh top five of the season.
He quickly improved from his starting position of 21st, advancing up to 14th by the race’s first yellow at lap 65. He took right-side tires only under the caution, flipping the track position to fourth for the ensuing restart, before finishing the 10-lap shootout to the stage in third.
From there, he never left the top five, taking over the lead on a restart at lap 117, before more strategy – a call for scuff tires – came under yellow at lap 144. He restarted in the lead again, and went on to finish fifth in the second stage.
A pair of yellows were displayed within seven laps of each other with just under 60 laps to go, as Keselowski ran second at the time of both of them. The final restart came with 45 to go, when Keselowski again restarted second, before going on to finish fourth.
Homestead-Miami Speedway hosts race two in the Round of 8 next weekend, with race coverage Sunday set for 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC, with radio coverage on MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.