ThatsRacin

Kobalt 400: Brad Keselowski storms to his first win in Cup season

Brad Keselowski celebrates after winning Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Brad Keselowski celebrates after winning Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Getty Images

Brad Keselowski tracked down Kyle Busch with five laps remaining Sunday and won a windy, rainy and sandy Kobalt 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

It was the first victory of the season for Keselowski, who all- but clinched a spot in the postseason Chase for the Cup with the victory.

Busch said his car had a vibration on the right front of his Toyota. He had taken the lead on a restart with 45 laps left, but couldn’t hold off Keselowski, finishing fourth.

“We had awesome speed at the end of every run,” said Keselowski. “When I got to (Busch), I saw his car falling off.”

Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano was second. Jimmie Johnson, who won last week at Atlanta, was third.

Turning point

Keselowski’s crew chief Paul Wolfe elected to take four tires on their final pit stop on Lap 199. Those fresh tires allowed Keselowski to track down Kyle Busch, who had taken the lead after a restart on Lap 224.

Three who mattered

Brad Keselowski: Wins for the first time in nearly 12 months (most recent victory was last March at Fontana).

Joey Logano: Started second, finished second. He said second isn’t bad, but he’s ready to win.

Kurt Busch: Pole winner was penalized early for speeding on pit road, finished ninth.

Observations

▪  The race started 24 minutes late after a brief, light rain shower passed over the track 30 minutes before the scheduled green flag of 3:46 p.m. Later in the race, a sand storm blew in, and high, gusty winds blew throughout the race.

▪  Jimmie Johnson led the most laps (76) and was there at the end, finishing .81 seconds behind Keselowski.

▪  Another tough lesson for rookie Chase Elliott, who wrecked on lap 224 when he rear-ended Matt Kenseth (who had wrecked in front of him). Elliott crashed at Daytona, too, but had a good run last week at Atlanta (eighth). Ryan Blaney had the best finish of the rookies (sixth), with Chris Buescher finishing 26th, Brian Scott 27th and Jeffrey Earnhardt 33rd.

They said it

“It seemed like there were plenty of challenges, whether it was pit road or the weather or cautions.” – Keselowski.

Next race

Good Sam 500

Where: Phoenix International Raceway, Avondale, Ariz.

When: 3:30 p.m., Sunday

TV: Fox

Radio: Motor Racing Network

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