Brickyard 400: Keselowski wins after door-to-door battle with Hamlin

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Brickyard 400: Keselowski wins after door-to-door battle with Hamlin
Nick DeGroot
By: Nick DeGroot
Sep 10, 2018, 9:22 PM

Brad Keselowski prevailed in a thrilling battle for the win with Denny Hamlin, giving Roger Penske his first Brickyard 400 victory after 25 years of the event.

Race winner Brad Keselowski, Team Penske, Ford Fusion
Race winner Brad Keselowski, Team Penske, Ford Fusion
Race winner Brad Keselowski, Team Penske, Ford Fusion
Race winner Brad Keselowski, Team Penske, Ford Fusion
Race winner Brad Keselowski, Team Penske, Ford Fusion
Race winner Brad Keselowski, Team Penske, Ford Fusion

Clint Bowyer led the way on a Lap 106 restart to kick off the final stage. With William Byron struggling to get going, Denny Hamlin quickly moved into the second position.

Stage 2 winner Matt Kenseth restarted back in ninth after pitting during the stage break, but he did not waste any time moving forward through the field. By the time the final round of green-flag pit stops began, he was in sixth and knocking on the door of the top-five.

Up front, it continued to be Bowyer with Hamlin stalking close behind. With 41 laps to go, Kyle Busch was forced to pit right at the edge of the pit window with a flat right rear tire.

Hamlin came down pit road with 35 laps to go, but Bowyer waited two more laps before he made his stop. That allowed Hamlin to move ahead, but they remained close as the pit stops cycled through.

Both Blaney and Kenseth saw potential top-five finishes slip away as Blaney blew through his stall and Kenseth’s car fell off the jack.

With 17 laps to go, Brad Keselowski was one of the last frontrunners to pit, doing so mere moments before the caution flew for debris on the frontstretch.

On the following restart, Hamlin was able to get away as Bowyer was harassed by Jamie McMurray for third.

With the freshest tires, Keselowski quickly charged through the field and with seven laps to go, he was up to third.

But at that moment, a massive incident took place involving Landon Cassill and Jeffrey Earnhardt, sending the latter driver airborne.

The race went back green for a three-lap shootout. Bowyer spun the tires, giving way for Keselowski to go after Hamlin. The two veterans went door-to-door with two laps remaining, making contact as Keselowski clawed his way by.

At the white flag, Erik Jones was able to overtake Hamlin, but he could not run down Keselowski, who delivered Team Penske their first ever win in the Brickyard 400.

It’s also Keselowski’s second win in succession with this latest triumph coming just after his first win in Darlington Raceway’s Southern 500 -- another crown jewel.

I gotta give credit where credit is due," said Keselowski. "My crew chief, Paul Wolfe, made a heck of a call to pit there late in that run and the yellow came out and we had new tires and started eighth and it was kind of like it gave me the ball. You know how that goes. I had to make a play. I knew it was going to be tough. We weren’t a dominant car by any means but Paul and everyone executed an incredible race. I just had to do my job and here I am in victory lane at the Brickyard. Man, I wish RP (Roger Penske) was here. I know he is watching at home. What a day!”

The 'Captain' himself issued a statement on the win, saying, "This is certainly a great win for Team Penske. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is such a special place to me personally and the success we have enjoyed there has really helped build our team and continue to raise our level of performance. Earning Team Penske’s first win in the Brickyard 400, especially coming just a couple of months after winning the Indianapolis 500, is a credit to everyone that works so hard throughout our organization. Congratulations to Brad (Keselowski), Paul (Wolfe) and everyone on the No. 2 Discount Tire Ford team. Well done and now we look forward to the opportunity to pursue Team Penske’s 500th win!"

Hamlin was third, Harvick fourth and Bowyer ended up fifth.

CLICK HERE to see which 16 drivers will battle for the 2018 NASCAR Cup title.

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Cla # Driver 4506 Laps Time Laps Led
1 2 United States Brad Keselowski  Ford 160   9
2 20 United States Erik Jones  Toyota 160 0.904  
3 11 United States Denny Hamlin  Toyota 160 1.703 37
4 4 United States Kevin Harvick  Ford 160 1.955 22
5 14 United States Clint Bowyer  Ford 160 2.413 37
6 41 United States Kurt Busch  Ford 160 2.797 19
7 1 United States Jamie McMurray  Chevrolet 160 3.858  
8 18 United States Kyle Busch  Toyota 160 4.631 27
9 21 United States Paul Menard  Ford 160 4.632  
10 31 United States Ryan Newman  Chevrolet 160 4.641  
11 12 United States Ryan Blaney  Ford 160 4.798 1
12 6 United States Matt Kenseth  Ford 160 4.911 5
13 22 United States Joey Logano  Ford 160 5.423  
14 42 United States Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 160 5.876  
15 9 United States Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 160 6.264  
16 48 United States Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 160 6.708  
17 34 United States Michael McDowell  Ford 160 7.762  
18 19 Mexico Daniel Suarez  Toyota 160 7.978  
19 24 United States William Byron  Chevrolet 160 8.964 3
20 95 United States Regan Smith  Chevrolet 160 9.015  
21 13 United States Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 160 9.020  
22 3 United States Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 160 9.135  
23 10 United States Aric Almirola  Ford 159 1 lap  
24 38 United States David Ragan  Ford 159 1 lap  
25 37 United States Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 158 2 laps  
26 15 United States Ross Chastain  Chevrolet 158 2 laps  
27 72 United States Corey Lajoie  Chevrolet 158 2 laps  
28 7 United States Reed Sorenson  Chevrolet 158 2 laps  
29 23 United States J.J. Yeley  Toyota 157 3 laps  
30 52 United States B.J. McLeod  Ford 157 3 laps  
31 00 United States Landon Cassill  Chevrolet 150 10 laps  
32 96 United States Jeffrey Earnhardt  Toyota 150 10 laps  
33 88 United States Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 142 18 laps  
34 17 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 136 24 laps  
35 66 United States Timmy Hill  Toyota 124 36 laps  
36 32 United States Matt DiBenedetto  Ford 89 71 laps  
37 47 United States A.J. Allmendinger  Chevrolet 66 94 laps  
38 43 United States Darrell Wallace Jr.  Chevrolet 57 103 laps  
39 51 United States David Starr  Ford 57 103 laps  
40 78 United States Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 41 119 laps  
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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Indianapolis
Drivers Brad Keselowski
Teams Team Penske
Author Nick DeGroot
Article type Race report