Brad Keselowski scores Team Penske’s first Brickyard 400 win
Brad Keselowski won Monday’s rain-delayed Brickyard 400 in a three-lap shootout, passing Denny Hamlin for the lead coming to the white flag.
It is his second win in a row following last week’s Southern 500, where he claimed his first Crown Jewel victory.
The win is the first for Team Penske in 25 tries in this race. The team has 17 Indianapolis 500 victories.
Keselowski beat Erik Jones, Hamlin, Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer.
Keselowski overtook Hamlin on fresher tires. Keselowski pitted with 17 laps to go right before a debris caution slowed the race. Following a two-car crash with seven laps to go, Keselowski restarted third behind Hamlin and Bowyer.
“I gotta give credit where credit is due,” Keselowski told NBCSN. “My crew chief, Paul Wolfe, he made a heck of call to pit there. We pitted late in that run and the yellow came out. We had new tires and we started eighth. It was kind of like he gave me the ball. He gave me the ball and I had to make a play. ... We weren’t a dominate car by any means, but Paul and everybody executed an incredible race. I just had to do my job.”
Kyle Busch placed eighth and secured the regular season title and 15 bonus playoff points. That was after he started from the pole and was penalized for pitting too late after pit road had closed with two laps left in Stage 2. He also had to pit under green for a flat right-rear tire.
“Man, what an ugly day, one of the ugliest ones we’ve had here at the Brickyard in a long, long time,” Busch told NBCSN. “It wasn’t exactly what we were hoping for or wanted ... It’s the day we were given.”
Jimmie Johnson and Alex Bowman secured the final two playoff spots.
STAGE 1 WINNER: Clint Bowyer
STAGE 2 WINNER: Matt Kenseth
WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Erik Jones placed second for his fourth top five and his best finish since winning at Daytona in July ... Denny Hamlin earned his first top five since the Coca-Cola 600 ... Clint Bowyer placed fifth after leading a race-high 37 laps. He’d previously led only six laps at Indy. It’s his first top five since Chicagoland in July.
WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Martin Truex Jr. was eliminated with 10 laps left in Stage 1 after his left-front brake rotor blew. It’s his fifth DNF of the year … Bubba Wallace was eliminated in a three-car wreck on Lap 59 when his brakes went out entering Turn 3 … Alex Bowman placed 33rd after being involved in a wreck with AJ Allmendinger in Stage 2.
NOTABLE: Brad Keselowski earned the first Brickyard 400 win for Ford since 1999 ... Regan Smith finished 20th in a substitute role for Kasey Kahne.
QUOTE OF THE RACE: “This is certainly a great win for Team Penske. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is such a special place to me personally and the success we have enjoyed there has really helped build our team and continue to raise our level of performance. Earning Team Penske’s first win in the Brickyard 400, especially coming just a couple of months after winning the Indianapolis 500, is a credit to everyone that works so hard throughout our organization. Congratulations to Brad (Keselowski), Paul (Wolfe) and everyone on the No. 2 Discount Tire Ford team. Well done and now we look forward to the opportunity to pursue Team Penske’s 500th win!” - statement by Roger Penske.
WHAT’S NEXT: South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway at 3 p.m. ET on Sept. 16 on NBCSN