Published on March 9th, 2016 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Keselowski Breaks Losing Streak with Kobalt 400 Win in Las Vegas
Overcoming a pit road speeding penalty with daring late-race strategy, Brad Keselowski broke a 33-race drought with a victory in last Sunday’s Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Keselowski passed Las Vegas native Kyle Busch with five laps left to win for the first time since Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, last year. The 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion beat Team Penske shopmate Joey Logano to the finish line by .675 seconds, as Busch lost ground over the closing laps.
Rain delayed the start of the race, and high winds and a late-race dust storm made visibility a challenge, but the bizarre conditions left Keselowski undeterred. Nor did a pit road speeding penalty under caution on Lap 180 prove catastrophic, thanks to a series of astute pit calls by crew chief Paul Wolfe.
“This is really, really great,” said Keselowski, who lauded the lower-downforce aerodynamic package in place for the 2016 season. “It seemed like there were plenty of challenges, whether it was pit road or the weather or cautions.
Relative to the field, Keselowski picked up speed toward the end of a run with a car that was eminently manoeuvrable. Busch’s car took off early but couldn’t maintain its pace late in a fuel run.
Six-time series champion Jimmie Johnson beat Busch to the finish line by .016 seconds to secure third place. Austin Dillon ran fifth, and rookie Ryan Blaney came home sixth, posting a career-best finish on an open-motor race track.
Overall, Busch retained the top spot in the series standings and leads Johnson by six points and seventh-place finisher Kevin Harvick by seven. Logano is fourth, 12 points back.
Top 10 Result – Kobalt 400, Las Vegas
|Position||Race #||Driver||Start position|
|8||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||20|