Keselowski Takes Darlington Xfinity Race

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DARLINGTON, SC – RIS – Brad Keselowski passed a battling Ross Chastain and Kevin Harvick and went on to win the NASCAR Xfinity race at Darlington Raceway on Saturday.  Harvick was trying to pass Chastain for the lead when the two got together and Keselowski went wide and passed them both and went on to victory.  Cole Custer finished second.

“This is such a huge confidence booster,” Keselowski said.

Keselowski had a second and two thirds in 15 combined Xfinity and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at Darlington.

Keselowski saw the two leaders tangle, went low and got through.

“You could see it coming,” Keselowski said. “I’m just glad we came out on top.”

Keselowski had passed Chastain with 44 laps to go, but Chastain quickly regained the lead and stayed there until the decisive wreck.

Chastain and Harvick were side by side in passing a lapped car 110 laps in when it appeared Harvick forced Chastain briefly into the wall. As Chastain moved down the track, he clipped Harvick’s rear and sent him spinning up the track. An angry Harvick went into the pits, stopping at Chastain’s stall to yell at his crew before moving behind the wall and out of the race.

Harvick said the incident was caused by a “really inexperienced guy in a really fast car. Made a really bad move and then wrecked me.”

Harvick continued, saying that moves like that are why the 25-year-old Chastain will “never get the chance to drive many (races) again.”

Chastain said he’ll examine tape of the wreck and if he was at fault, he’ll learn from it. He was not sure when or if he’d speak to Harvick, one of NASCAR’s most dominant and fiery personalities. “If I made a mistake, it’s on me,” said Chastain, who won the pole and the first two of three stages in the race. “Being the leader there, I was just trying to race.”

Harvick and Chastain will see each other again Sunday in the Southern 500. Harvick is starting 22nd and Chastain 33rd.

Keselowski will start 13th in Sunday’s race, filled with a bit more enthusiasm and belief after the win.

“The half-dozen races I’ve run here have gone quite awful,” Keselowski said. “I’ve tried to figure out why that is and running this race certainly helps. It gives me confidence and direction to know what to work on.”

 Darlington Raceway - Darlington, SC - 1.366 Mile Paved
Total Race Length - 147 Laps - 200.802 Miles
Fin Str Car Driver Team Laps Stage 1 Pos Stage 2 Pos Pts Status Tms Laps Playoff Pts
1 9 22 Brad Keselowski(i) Snap On Ford 147 8 2 0 Running 2 35
2 6 00 Cole Custer Haas Automation Ford 147 7 39 Running
3 3 9 Tyler Reddick # Old Milwaukee Beer Chevrolet 147 4 5 47 Running
4 5 18 Denny Hamlin(i) Sport Clips Toyota 147 9 6 0 Running
5 8 1 Elliott Sadler Armour Chili Chevrolet 147 7 8 39 Running
6 38 23 Chase Elliott(i) GMS Fabrication Chevrolet 147 10 9 0 Running
7 10 7 Justin Allgaier Chevrolet Accessories Chevrolet 147 5 4 43 Running
8 16 2 Matt Tifft Surface Sunscreen/Tunity Chevrolet 147 29 Running
9 12 3 Ty Dillon(i) Daniel Defense Chevrolet 147 0 Running
10 15 5 Michael Annett Pilot Flying J Chevrolet 147 27 Running
11 4 21 Daniel Hemric South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet 147 6 10 32 Running
12 39 19 Brandon Jones Hope for the Warriors Toyota 147 25 Running
13 14 16 Ryan Reed Drive Down A1C Lilly Diabetes Ford 147 24 Running
14 21 01 Landon Cassill Flex Seal Chevrolet 147 23 Running
15 13 11 Ryan Truex LeafFilter Gutter Protection Throwback Chevrolet 147 22 Running
16 17 51 Jeremy Clements RepairableVehicles.com Chevrolet 147 21 Running
17 23 39 Ryan Sieg ionomy/Offroad Heat Chevrolet 147 20 Running
18 24 90 Brandon Brown Coastal Carolina University Chevrolet 147 19 Running
19 18 36 Alex Labbe # VRVictoriaville.com Chevrolet 146 18 Running
20 20 4 Garrett Smithley South Carolina Education Lottery Chevrolet 146 17 Running
21 19 35 Joey Gase Agri Supply/Sparks Chevrolet 146 16 Running
22 25 8 Tommy Joe Martins Chevrolet 146 15 Running 1 1
23 29 15 BJ McLeod Flex Tape Chevrolet 146 14 Running
24 32 78 Cody Ware(i) Chevrolet 145 0 Running
25 1 42 Ross Chastain DC Solar Chevrolet 145 1 1 32 Running 5 90 2
26 30 55 Bayley Currey(i) Prevagen Toyota 135 0 Running
27 35 74 Mike Harmon Shadow Warriors Project Chevrolet 131 10 Running
28 40 45 Josh Bilicki # Prevagen Toyota 128 9 Running
29 7 98 Kevin Harvick(i) Hunt Brothers Pizza Throwback Ford 111 3 3 0 Accident 1 18
30 22 38 JJ Yeley RSS Racing Chevrolet 99 7 Electrical 2 3
31 31 76 Spencer Boyd # Grunt Style Chevrolet 95 6 Running
32 37 40 Chad Finchum # MBM Motorsports/TLC Resorts Chevrolet 90 5 Running
33 34 66 Carl Long CrashClaimsR.Us Dodge 67 4 Brakes
34 2 20 Christopher Bell # Rheem Toyota 65 2 12 Accident
35 27 72 Timmy Hill CrashClaimsR.Us Toyota 54 2 Vibration
36 28 52 David Starr Chevrolet 40 1 Engine
37 26 0 Vinnie Miller # Flex Glue Chevrolet 32 1 Suspension
38 33 89 Morgan Shepherd Visone RV Chevrolet 24 1 Handling
39 36 93 Jeff Green RSS Racing Chevrolet 13 1 Transmission
40 11 60 Austin Cindric # Ford Hall of Fans Ford 2 1 Accident
Time of Race: 1 Hrs, 48 Mins, 22 Secs. Average Speed: 111.179 MPH Margin of Victory: 0.738 Seconds
42,20,98,9,7,21,1,22,18,23
42,22,98,7,9,18,00,1,23,21
Race Comments: Brad Keselowski won the 36th Annual Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 at Darlington Raceway, his 39th victory in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Prior to the start of the race, the following cars dropped to the rear of the field under penalty for the reasons indicated: No. 0 (backup), No. 19 (inspection failure), No. 23 (tire change), No. 45 (unapproved adjustments - engine).
Failed to Qualify: N/A
Caution Flags: 6 for 30 laps: Laps: 4-9 (#60 Incident Frontstretch [19]); 47-52 (End of Stage 1 [8]); 67-70 (#20, 21 Incident Turn 3 [4]); 78-81 (#19 Spin Turn 2 [15]); 92-96 (End of Stage 2 [78]); 112-116 (#98, 42 Incident Backstretch [78]).
Lead Changes: 10 among 5 drivers: R. Chastain 1-48; J. Yeley 49; R. Chastain 50-52; K. Harvick(i) 53-70; R. Chastain 71-93; J. Yeley 94-95; R. Chastain 96-110; B. Keselowski(i) 111-112; R. Chastain 113; T. Martins 114; B. Keselowski(i) 115-147.
Mahle Clevite Engine Builder of the Race : Roush-Yates Engines, #22 Mobil 1 Driver of the Race : Cole Custer, #00
Sunoco Rookie of the Race : Tyler Reddick, #9
(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series
Next Race: Sep. 8, 2018 - Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Ron Fleshman

RIS NASCAR Editor.  Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.

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Volume 2018, Issue 8, Posted 2:39 AM, 09.02.2018