Brad Keselowski holds off Custer to win Xfinity race at Charlotte
Brad Keselowski is now a perfect two-for-two in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this season.
Keselowski, who started on the pole, found himself chasing Kyle Busch until he wrecked, had to wait through an hour-long rain delay and then held off Cole Custer in overtime to win the Alsco 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Keselowski won in his only other series start this season at Phoenix. It’s his 38th series victory and fourth at Charlotte.
"The (pit strategy) was good but the car was good. We just had to adjust on it," Keselowski said in Victory Lane. "I had really good short-run speed but we couldn't the long-run speed in this Ford. I think the short runs at the end paid off for us.
"We weren't really prepared for the PJ1 (track compound) to be the way it was. We had practiced and ran the bottom (groove) and thought we had a pretty good set-up but that PJ1 changed everything so we had to keep working on it and not give up on it.
"I'm really happy for Team Penske to get them a win here in the Xfinity Series and hopefully I'll get one tomorrow. It will be really cool to get one here on Memorial Day weekend, that's for sure."
Christopher Bell finished third, however after post-race inspection, NASCAR announced his car failed post-race height measurements. A penalty on the infraction will likely be announced next week by NASCAR.
Ty Dillon finished fourth and Elliott Sadler completed the top-five.
Tyler Reddick spun in Turn 2 on Lap 157 of 200 to bring out a caution and the result jumbled up the lineup.
Several lead-lap cars pit for their last set of new tires but Daniel Hemric was among those who stayed out and inherited the lead on the restart with 39 laps remaining. Former leader Kyle Busch, who dominated much of the race, was the first car on new tires and lined up 10th.
Busch got into the grass trying to pass entering Turn 1 and collected Chase Briscoe which brought out a caution on Lap 161. Keselowski moved into the lead before the caution and led the way on the restart with 34 laps to go.
Dylan Lupton and Ty Majeski wrecked in Turn 3 to immediately bring out another caution. Heavy rain hit track under the caution and the race was placed under the red flag with 28 laps remaining.
After a delay of just over an hour, the race returned to yellow and went back to green on Lap 177 with Keselowski in the lead followed by Hemric and Brandon Jones.
Ryan Truex powered into the runner-up position on the restart as Hemric dropped to third.
On Lap 180, Justin Allgaier and Jamie McMurray wrecked through Turns 1 and 2 as they raced three-wide with Hemric. On the restart with 14 to go, Keselowski remained out front followed by Truex and Custer.
Bell powered into the runner-up position on the restart as Custer moved to third.
Another caution with two to go for a large piece of debris in Turn 4 set up a two-lap overtime.
Busch was hardly challenged in taking the Stage 2 victory, holding off Custer, who powered into the second position on a late-stage restart.
“It seems like it’s been changing throughout the races. Some places feel like they have a lot of grip and others don’t have any, but I feel like I’ve got it figured out,” Custer said during the break.
Jones finished third, McMurray was fourth and Dillon completed the top-five.
Following pit stops between Stages 1 and 2, Busch was first off pit road and remained out front when the second stage went green on Lap 53. He was followed by Allgaier and Jones.
With 31 laps remaining in the stage, Majeski nearly spun exiting off Turn 4 but saved it and continued on without the need of a caution.
With 15 laps to go in Stage 2, Busch maintained a lead of over three seconds, while Jones had maneuvered his way back into the runner-up position. They were followed by Chase Elliott, Custer and Allgaier.
On Lap 79, Garrett Smithley spun between Turn 3 and 4 to bring out a caution. Keselowski and Tyler Reddick were among a handful of drivers who elected to pit. Reddick, however, was penalized for having too many men over the wall during his stop.
On the restart on Lap 83, Busch remained in the lead followed by Jones and Elliott.
Custer powered to third on the restart, then moved into second with seven laps left in the stage.
Busch held off a fast-approaching Jones to claim the Stage 1 victory.
Elliott finished third, Bell was fourth and Keselowski completed the top-five.
Busch used a three-wide move to power to the lead on the start of the race but a lap later had to relinquish it to Keselowski.
With 25 laps to go in the first stage, Busch had gotten to Keselowski’s rear bumper and the two were battling again for the lead.
Brandon Hightower spun on Lap 21 to bring out the race’s first caution. On the restart on Lap 27, Keselowski continued to lead followed by Busch and Jones.
Busch grabbed the lead on the restart following a rough side-by-side battle with Keselowski. Another lap later and Elliott had moved into the runner-up position.
With 10 to go in the stage, Jones moved up into the third position behind Busch and Elliott.
Ryan Reed’s No. 16 Ford failed inspection three times Saturday morning, which resulted in his car chief being ejected from the track and Reed was forced to start the race from the rear of the field.
Reed will also lose 30 minutes of practice time next weekend at Pocono Raceway.
Vinnie Miller (backup car) and J.J. Yeley (missed driver’s meeting) also had to start the race from the back.
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