Las Vegas NASCAR: Brad Keselowski gets Penske's 500th win

Brad Keselowski won his third NASCAR Cup Series race in a row to give Team Penske its 500th victory in motorsport in a hectic playoff opener at Las Vegas

Las Vegas NASCAR: Brad Keselowski gets Penske's 500th win

Keselowski got himself to the front repeatedly during a hard-fought final segment in which his Penske team-mate Joey Logano, reigning champion Martin Truex Jr and Ganassi's Kyle Larson were the other main protagonists.

The latter part of the race was interrupted multiple times by accidents, eventually being red-flagged and taken into overtime following a four-car crash featuring Stewart-Haas team-mates Kurt Busch and Clint Bowyer and Front Row pair Michael McDowell and David Ragan.

Keselowski held off the pack at the final restart to win a race in which he wasn't even running in the top 10 until making up positions in the pitstops at the start of stage two.

Another quick pitstop then got him into the lead and he won stage two before his triumphant role in the final battle.

Larson took second despite having to pit with a flat tyre when third 70 laps into the 267-lap race. The decision to not pit after stage two got him back into contention when yellows fell his way early in the final segment, and he twice surged into the lead briefly in spectacular late battles with the Penske drivers and Truex.

Stage one winner Truex led 96 laps and was in victory contention for the vast majority of the race, but ended up third in the Furniture Row Toyota, ahead of Penske pair Logano and Ryan Blaney, having struggled to break into the lead at the late restarts.

Truex was the only one of the top three drivers from the regular season to have a smooth start to the playoffs.

Kyle Busch ran into multiple issues including an extra pitstop due to missing wheelnuts and a late spin caused by a puncture. He still finished seventh.

Kevin Harvick's race was ended just over halfway through in a collision with polesitter and fellow playoff contender Erik Jones, who ploughed into the Stewart-Haas Chevrolet as it slid into the wall following a tyre failure.

Other playoff drivers in trouble included Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson and Chase Elliott.

Hamlin's Joe Gibbs Toyota suffered race-ending damage in a spin over the infield grass in the closing stages, while Johnson dropped back to 22nd after brushing the wall following one of his strongest recent runs.

Johnson's Hendrick team-mate Elliott had one of the nastiest incidents of the race, initially fearing a shoulder injury after collecting the spinning Jamie McMurray.

Race result

Pos Driver Team Car Laps
1 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford 272
2 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 272
3 Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row Racing Toyota 272
4 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 272
5 Ryan Blaney Team Penske Ford 272
6 Aric Almirola Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 272
7 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 272
8 Daniel Suarez Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 272
9 Ryan Newman Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 272
10 Paul Menard Wood Brothers Racing Ford 272
11 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 272
12 Regan Smith Leavine Family Racing Chevrolet 272
13 Trevor Bayne Roush Fenway Racing Ford 272
14 A.J. Allmendinger JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 272
15 Chris Buescher JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 272
16 Corey LaJoie TriStar Motorsports Chevrolet 272
17 J.J. Yeley BK Racing Toyota 272
18 Landon Cassill StarCom Racing Chevrolet 272
19 Alex Bowman Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 271
20 Ross Chastain Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 271
21 Kurt Busch Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 271
22 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 270
23 Clint Bowyer Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 270
24 Matt DiBenedetto Go FAS Racing Ford 269
25 Jeffrey Earnhardt Gaunt Brothers Racing Toyota 269
26 Kyle Weatherman StarCom Racing Chevrolet 269
27 David Ragan Front Row Motorsports Ford 268
28 B.J. McLeod Rick Ware Racing Ford 268
29 Michael McDowell Front Row Motorsports Ford 265
30 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford 251
31 Reed Sorenson Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 246
32 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 245
33 Timmy Hill MBM Motorsports Toyota 231
34 Ty Dillon Germain Racing Chevrolet 218
35 Jamie McMurray Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 211
36 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 211
37 William Byron Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 210
38 Darrell Wallace Jr. Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet 164
39 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 147
40 Erik Jones Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 147

Playoff standings

Pos Driver Points
1 Martin Truex Jr. 2087
2 Kyle Busch 2085
3 Brad Keselowski 2069
4 Kevin Harvick 2060
5 Joey Logano 2056
6 Kurt Busch 2046
7 Ryan Blaney 2042
8 Kyle Larson 2041
9 Aric Almirola 2034
10 Austin Dillon 2031
11 Clint Bowyer 2029
12 Alex Bowman 2028
13 Jimmie Johnson 2022
14 Chase Elliott 2019
15 Erik Jones 2009
16 Denny Hamlin 2008


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Series NASCAR
Drivers Brad Keselowski
Teams Team Penske
Author TIm Lumb
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