Brad Keselowski won Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bojangles’ Southern 500 to complete the weekend sweep at Darlington Raceway.
After the No. 2 Team got him off pit road first on the final pit stop under the sixth and final caution, Keselowski was able to lead the final 22 laps behind the wheel of the throwback Miller Genuine Draft Ford en route to the checkered flag.
“This has got to be the biggest (win of my career), Darlington, it’s a major…This thing was flying, it was a Rusty Wallace hot rod here today,” Keselowski said.
“Am I dreaming? I’ve got to give a lot of credit to my pit crew. We were running second, that last stop they nailed it…In 2015, we lost it on the last pit stop, today my team won it on the last pit stop.”
Keselowski led a total of 24 laps to score his 25th career win and first since Talladega in October 2017 (29 starts between).
Logano, Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick and Chase Elliott rounded out the top five. Larson dominated the race, leading 284 laps and winning the first two stages. He came out second to Keselowski on the final stop.
“This car was extremely fast and we proved it,” Larson said. “We just came up a little bit short. It’s nice to show some dominant speed like that.”
Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Erik Jones, Jamie McMurray and Denny Hamlin completed the first 10 finishers.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regular season wraps up next Sunday with the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
How Keselowski Won: The night’s final pit stop proved to be the winning move for Keselowski. After Larson dominated the race the race’s final trip to pit road proved to be the difference maker for Keselowski, who came out with the top spot and kept it over the final 22 laps to score the win.
Who Had a Good Day: Larson won the first two stages and led 284 laps but he was forced to settle for a not bad but could have been better third place finish…Harvick has finished top-10 in the last six races at Darlington…Elliott scored his sixth straight race of 2018 finishing in the top 10…Kurt Busch had his seventh straight top-10 finish of 2018, tied for his second longest streak of his career.
Who Had a Bad Day: Jimmie Johnson’s rough season continued at Darlington. He was forced to start at the rear of the field due to an unapproved adjustment after qualifying and things got worse from there. He pitted for a vibration, made a commitment line mistake that ended in a penalty and finally was eliminated by an oil pump issue…Clint Bowyer and Ryan Newman got involved in an accident late in the race that eliminated both drivers on lap 312…William Byron was taken from competition by an engine issue.
What Else Happened: Larson was by far the class of the field and looked untouchable all night long in the race that was delayed about an hour because of weather in the area. Tires wear as is usually the case was a key component to running well over the course of the grueling race that took its tool on a number of drivers and cars with mechanical issues and accidents.
Quotable: “There are lapped cars that are 50 laps down all over the damn place. That’s pretty frustrating. I’m about tired of that. This track is too narrow for cars to be that far off the pace,” Clint Bowyer after his accident that also involved Ryan Newman.
Notables: It was the fifth 1-2 finish for Team Penske…Keselowski has won at least one race a season for the last eight years…It was the third Darlington win for Team Penske, the last two were in 1975 with Bobby Allison.