Keselowski Hits Jackpot Again in Las Vegas

Brad Keselowski snapped his 33-race winless streak on Sunday, winning the Kobalt 400 after a late race pass on hometown favorite Kyle Busch with five laps remaining.

On lap 180, with only 87 laps remaining, Keselowski was busted for speeding on pit road. But a gutsy call by crew chief Paul Wolfe to keep the No. 2 on the racetrack on lap 217, when all but them and two other cars pitted, put him back up front and back in contention for the win. From there, the 2012 champion did the rest and took care of business.

Kyle Busch (who won the Xfinity race on Saturday, leading a whopping 199 of 200 laps) took two left side tires under one of the final cautions of the afternoon, and after passing five cars in two turns, he was comfortably in the lead. But his car started falling off. Meanwhile, Keselowski got by his Team Penske teammate, Joey Logano (who finished second), then made his way past the defending champion and wound up in victory lane in Sin City.

“He had a really good short-run car, but it fell off on the long run,” Keselowski said. “That’s part of this new package. Some (drivers) are good on short runs and some are good on long runs, and we had a really good long-run car today.”

“This is really, really great,” said Keselowski after he claimed his first win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway since 2014.

“I tried to hold him off as long as I could, but he showed how fast he was getting by me and Kyle and checking out,” Logano said, as Penske claimed the top two positions for the first time this season.

In typical Las Vegas fashion, though, the race was wild in more ways than one.

After being delayed about 40 minutes due to rain (yes, even in the desert), the race begun. But throughout the race, due to extremely high wind gusts (upwards of 50 mph), dust storms popped up around the track and ended up coming through the racetrack. Vision was impaired for drivers and fans alike, but the wild wild west’s dust storms went through and racing went on without any interruption.

Keselowski’s win all but secures him a spot in the 2016 Chase, as he and crew chief Paul Wolfe are now able to explore different strategies throughout the rest of the season. “The way I look at it, if you’re going to do two tires, you got to get that clean air,” Wolfe said. “Otherwise, we’ll take four all day long. It gives you opportunities at the end to do some different strategies to get that track position back.’

Coming off his win at Atlanta, Jimmie Johnson, who led a race-high 76 laps, finished third, Kyle Busch fourth and Austin Dillon fifth in his best finish in a while.

Rookie Ryan Blaney finished sixth (career-best finish), 2015 Kobalt 400 winner Kevin Harvick came home seventh, Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished eighth, pole sitter Kurt Busch ninth and Kasey Kahne rounded out the top ten finishers from Sin City.

Some other notables included Martin Truex Jr. in 11th, Carl Edwards in 18th, Denny Hamlin in 19th, Matt Kenseth in 37th (accident) and Chase Elliott in 38th (accident as well).

The weekend was awesome for me, personally, as I was at the racetrack! Although the dust storms and wind wreaked havoc on my hair, I survived along with my dad, and we had a fantastic time, per usual, in Sin City.

Next week, the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series stay out west and head to Phoenix International Raceway, better known as “Kevin Harvick’s House”, as he has dominated the last five races at the track (winning four of them and finishing second in the previous one that was delayed by rain). The rest of the field will look to dethrone Harvick next weekend in the Good Sam 500 (Sunday, 3:30 pm ET).