Keselowski Puts '22' Back in Victory Lane

Brad Keselowski

Keselowski scored his 35th career NASCAR XFINITY Series win. (Photo: Getty Images)

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LONG POND, Pa. - Brad Keselowski made a last lap pass in Saturday’s Pocono Green 250 at Pocono Raceway and went on to score the first win for Team Penske’s No. 22 XFINITY Series team since Texas in November 2015. 

It’s the 35th career win for Keselowski in the NASCAR XFINITY Series in his 245th career start.

“I can’t wait to see the replay,” Keselowski said. “Really happy for the 22 team. It’s been a while. I think it’s been well documented that they haven’t been to Victory Lane."

“It’s good for Ford and everybody. It feels good for me, the team. We had a good car and good strategy."

Keselowski started eighth on Saturday but moved to the front quickly and took the lead for the first time on Lap 22, going on to win Stage 1. 

After losing the lead to Cole Custer at the beginning of Stage 2, Keselowski re-assumed the top spot on Lap 39 from Cole Custer and then held on to win Stage 2.

Keselowski’s crew chief Greg Erwin made the call to keep the No. 22 on track between the second and third stages in an attempt to gain track position for later in the race. 

After regaining the top spot in Stage 3, Keselowski pitted on Lap 64 for tires and fuel but fell back in the field in the process. When the caution flew for the final time on Lap 80 after Brandon Jones spun in Turn 1, Keselowski found himself back near the front of the field.

But after the restart, he lost several positions while Larson took control of the race and began pulling away from the field. In the closing laps, it was Justin Allgaier and Keselowski trying to track down Larson for the race win. 

“Elliott (Sadler) gave me a good push but it carried all the way into Turn 1,” Keselowski said. “I got down there and my rear tires were off the ground and went straight trying not to back it into the wall.”

“I drove by a bunch of cars and just pushed as hard as I could,” Keselowski said of trying to work his way back to the front.

After passing Allgaier for second with a handful of laps remaining, Keselowski finally got to the back bumper of Larson and made the winning pass entering the Turn 2 on the last lap of the race.

“It looked like Larson’s car was struggling just a little bit and he was getting tight in the middle, loose off,” Keselowski said. “Just on the last lap I got on his bumper and got him loose. He was trying to do the side draft thing down the backstretch and all the way down the apron.” 

Allgaier was also able to pass Larson on the last lap to finish second with Elliott Sadler and Daniel Suarez rounding out the top-five finishers.

“I’m disappointed it’s not a win but really happy to be walking away with the points lead,” Allgaier said. “I was proud of the guys when we unloaded yesterday. This morning in qualifying I knew we were gonna have a good shot today."

It was a tough ending for Larson who was trying to defend his win from the inaugural Pocono XFINITY Series race from a year ago.

“The last 15 laps or so I was not expecting to get to the lead. It all worked out for me,” Larson said. “I knew Brad had fallen back a ways and I figured he would get back up to us.”

“That last lap I got into one and tried to be patient. I just got too tight off Turn 1. I couldn’t get committed to wide open as soon as I needed to. I was plowing and Brad got a good run on me. Disappointed I didn’t get the win.”

Allgaier assumes a one-point lead over Sadler in the NASCAR XFINITY Series standings. Rookie William Byron is third, 62 points behind Allgaier after 12 events in the 2017 season.

Saturday’s race was slowed just three times by caution for 15 laps. Six drivers exchanged the lead 12 times.

The NASCAR XFINITY Series will now head to Michigan International Speedway next Saturday. 

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