Brad Keselowski scores Southern 500 victory
DARLINGTON, S.C. — Brad Keselowski’s pit crew gave him the lead with 22 laps left and he drove off to win Sunday’s Southern 500 and sweep the Xfinity and Cup races at Darlington Raceway this weekend.
It is Keselowski’s first win of the season, his first Southern 500 victory and the 25th Cup triumph of his career.
MORE: Southern 500 results
MORE: Points after Southern 500
Keselowski took the lead from Kyle Larson on pit road on Lap 346 of the 367-lap race. Keselowski nipped Larson to the line at the exit pit road. Larson, who dominated the race and won the first two stages, could never mount a challenge and fell back.
“A major! Yeah!” Keselowski yelled on his radio after the race. “Great job pit crew that last stop was awesome!
Joey Logano finished second. Larson, who led 284 laps, placed third.
STAGE 1 WINNER: Kyle Larson
STAGE 2 WINNER: Kyle Larson
CLINCHED PLAYOFF SPOTS: Denny Hamlin and Aric Almirola each clinched a playoff spot via points. That leaves two spots to be set in the regular-season finale next weekend at Indianapolis.
HOW BRAD KESELOWSKI WON: His pit crew, which had changed its pit choreography this week, got him off pit road first on the final stop of the race and he went on to win.
WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Runner-up Joey Logano scored his second consecutive top-five finish. … Chase Elliott finished fifth for his sixth consecutive top-10 finish. … Kurt Busch placed seventh for his seventh consecutive top 10.
WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Jimmie Johnson, who has not secured a playoff spot, started at the rear for unapproved adjustments (fixing damage to his car in qualifying), had a commitment line penalty and went to the garage with more than 130 laps left after having engine issues. He finished 39th ... Joey Gase finished last because of a wreck after he was hit from behind by Kyle Busch.
NOTABLE: This is the fourth time Kyle Larson has led 200 or more laps in his Cup career and he did not win any of those races.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “How cool is this winning in Rusty Wallace’s Throwback car, the Southern 500, Throwback Weekend,” Brad Keselowski to NBCSN after the race.
WHAT’S NEXT: The series races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway at 2 p.m. ET, Sept. 9 on NBCSN.