Brad Keselowski takes win in wild Xfinity race at Darlington

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Brad Keselowski takes win in wild Xfinity race at Darlington
Jim Utter
By: Jim Utter
Sep 1, 2018, 9:55 PM

Brad Keselowski turned out to be in the right place at the right time.

When Ross Chastain and Kevin Harvick wrecked racing for the lead late in the race, Keselowski moved into the lead and never let it go.

Keselowski held off Cole Custer at the finish by nearly a second to win Saturday’s Sport Clips 200 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.

"We had a really great Ford Mustang today," Keselowski said. "I could keep up with Ross (Chastain) but I couldn't pass him, he was so fast. They (Chastain and Harvick) has their thing off (Turn) 2 and we were able to pounce on it. That's a testament to this team. I ran five races (this season) and we won three of them.

"I really wanted to run this race because I've never won here. Great car. We've had a lot of fun this year. I'm so proud to be a part of this team. 

The win is his third of the season, 39th of his career and first at the “Track Too Tough To Tame.”

Tyler Reddick finished third, Denny Hamlin was fourth and Elliott Sadler completed the top-five.

Chastain and Harvick collide

On Lap 112 of 147, Chastain and Harvick were racing for the lead when the two made contact and it appeared Harvick pinched Chastain up into the wall. Chastain came back down, hit Harvick and sent him for a spin.

Keselowski moved into the lead while Chastain and Harvick were going at it.

“He pinched me on the door and I got loose. Then he wrecked me on purpose,” Harvick said over his radio. “Perfect way for that jackass to end his day. Wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t get other opportunities because of stupid (expletive) like that. Jackass.”

In frustration, Harvick briefly parked his No. 98 Ford in Chastain’s pit stall before moving his car.

On the restart with 31 laps remaining, Keselowski led the way followed by Custer and Hamlin. Chastain restarted in 22nd following repairs.

One lap later, Chastain brought the No. 42 Chevrolet back down pit road for additional repairs.

With 20 laps remaining, Keselowski held a small lead over Custer, followed by Hamlin, Reddick and Sadler.

Stage 2

After reclaiming the lead late in the stage, Chastain held off Keselowski to earn his second consecutive stage victory.

Harvick finished third, Justin Allgaier fourth and Reddick completed the top-five.

Following the break between Stages 1 and 2, Chastain was the first off pit road as all of the lead-lap cars pit for fuel and tires. He led the way when Stage 2 went green on Lap 53. He was followed by Harvick and Daniel Hemric.

During pit stops, Denny Hamlin was penalized for removing equipment from his pit stall and Sadler had to restart from the rear of the field for an uncontrolled tire penalty.

Harvick bolted to the lead on the restart and shortly afterwards, Christopher Bell was forced to pit under green with a tire rub after contact with Hemric.

After the stop, Bell dropped to 28th in the running order and a lap down.

With 25 laps to go in Stage 2, Harvick held a small lead over Chastain with Keselowski having moved into third.

On Lap 67, Bell hit the wall in Turn 3 to bring out a caution. Bell drove his No. 20 Toyota to the garage and was done for the day.

“I just got loose off (Turn) 4, it’s pretty narrow down there,” Bell said. “Didn’t have time to correct before going down the straightaway. Just bummed for my team.”

Harvick continued to lead on the restart on Lap 71 followed by Chastain and Reddick.

Chastain quickly got around Harvick on the restart and moved back into the lead.

With 15 laps left in the stage, Chastain held a small advantage over Harvick as Keselowski continued in third.

On Lap 78, Brandon Jones spun off Turn 2 to bring out a caution. On the restart with nine laps left in the stage, Chastain remained the leader followed by Harvick and Keselowski.

Stage 1

Chastain led every lap and held off Bell to take the Stage 1 victory, the first stage win of his career.

“Just trying to do my job in here, take what the car will give me,” Chastain said during the break. “I’m struggling on (corner) entry. Something I’ve always struggled with.”

Harvick finished third, Reddick was fourth and Allgaier completed the top-five.

On Lap 2, Ryan Truex got into Austin Cindric coming off Turn 4 and sent Cindric’s No. 60 Ford careening into the infield wall, completing destroying the car.

“I could almost cry,” Cindric said. “This team has worked so hard and not to be able to experience this race, and my last race with this team, really bothers me.”

On the restart on Lap 10, Chastain led the way followed by Bell and Hemric.

With 25 laps left in the first stage, Chastain held a small lead over Bell while Reddick moved into third and Hemric dropped to fourth.

Chastain continued to hold a small advantage over Bell with 15 laps remaining in the first stage as Reddick remained in third and Harvick moved into fourth.

Three drivers – Vinnie Miller (moving to a backup car), Josh Bilicki (unapproved adjustments) and Chase Elliott (changing tires) – had to move to the rear of the field before the start.

In addition, Jones had to serve a pass-through penalty down pit road after taking the green flag because his No. 19 Toyota failed pre-qualifying inspection four times Saturday morning.

la # Driver 4506 Laps Time Laps Led
1 22 United States Brad Keselowski  Ford 147   35
2 00 United States Cole Custer  Ford 147 0.738  
3 9 United States Tyler Reddick  Chevrolet 147 1.438  
4 18 United States Denny Hamlin  Toyota 147 3.213  
5 1 United States Elliott Sadler  Chevrolet 147 7.429  
6 23 United States Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 147 8.523  
7 7 United States Justin Allgaier  Chevrolet 147 11.040  
8 2 United States Matt Tifft  Chevrolet 147 12.928  
9 3 United States Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 147 16.076  
10 5 United States Michael Annett  Chevrolet 147 16.312  
11 21 United States Daniel Hemric  Chevrolet 147 17.567  
12 19 United States Brandon Jones  Toyota 147 18.096  
13 16 United States Ryan Reed  Ford 147 19.254  
14 01 United States Landon Cassill  Chevrolet 147 22.990  
15 11 United States Ryan Truex  Chevrolet 147 26.118  
16 51 United States Jeremy Clements  Chevrolet 147 27.016  
17 39 United States Ryan Sieg  Chevrolet 147 29.061  
18 90 United States Brandon Brown  Chevrolet 147 31.103  
19 36 Canada Alex Labbé  Chevrolet 146 1 lap  
20 4 United States Garrett Smithley  Chevrolet 146 1 lap  
21 35 United States Joey Gase  Chevrolet 146 1 lap  
22 8 United States Tommy Joe Martins  Chevrolet 146 1 lap 1
23 15 United States B.J. McLeod  Chevrolet 146 1 lap  
24 78 Cody Ware  Chevrolet 145 2 laps  
25 42 United States Ross Chastain  Chevrolet 145 2 laps 90
26 55 Bayley Currey  Toyota 135 12 laps  
27 74 United States Mike Harmon  Chevrolet 131 16 laps  
28 45 United States Josh Bilicki  Toyota 128 19 laps  
29 98 United States Kevin Harvick  Ford 111 36 laps 18
30 38 United States J.J. Yeley  Chevrolet 99 48 laps 3
31 76 United States Spencer Boyd  Chevrolet 95 52 laps  
32 40 United States Chad Finchum  Chevrolet 90 57 laps  
33 66 United States Carl Long  Dodge 67 80 laps  
34 20 United States Christopher Bell  Toyota 65 82 laps  
35 72 United States Timmy Hill  Toyota 54 93 laps  
36 52 United States David Starr  Chevrolet 40 107 laps  
37   United States Vinnie Miller  Chevrolet 32 115 laps  
38 89 United States Morgan Shepherd  Chevrolet 24 123 laps  
39 93 United States Jeff Green  Chevrolet 13 134 laps  
40 60 United States Austin Cindric  Ford 2 145 laps  
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About this article

Series NASCAR XFINITY
Event Darlington
Drivers Kevin Harvick , Brad Keselowski , Ross Chastain
Author Jim Utter
Article type Race report