Brad Keselowski outduels Truex for Atlanta Cup win

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Brad Keselowski outduels Truex for Atlanta Cup win
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Feb 24, 2019, 10:59 PM

Brad Keselowski faced a bunch of obstacles this weekend but emerged with his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory of the season.

Brad Keselowski, Team Penske, Ford Mustang
Brad Keselowski, Team Penske, Ford Mustang
Brad Keselowski, Team Penske, Ford Mustang
Winner Brad Keselowski, Team Penske, Ford Mustang
Brad Keselowski, Team Penske, Ford Mustang and Austin Cindric, Team Penske, Ford Mustang Discount Tire
Martin Truex Jr., Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Bass Pro Shops
Martin Truex Jr., Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Bass Pro Shops
Kurt Busch, Chip Ganassi Racing, Chevrolet Camaro ComSurv
Winner Brad Keselowski, Team Penske, Ford Mustang
Winner Brad Keselowski, Team Penske, Ford Mustang
Winner Brad Keselowski, Team Penske, Ford Mustang

After a sub-par qualifying effort on Friday and battling flu-like symptoms the past two days, Keselowski rallied on Sunday to hold off Martin Truex Jr. and claim the win in the QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The win is Keselowski’s first of the season, second at Atlanta and 28th of his career.

Kurt Busch finished third, Kevin Harvick was fourth and Clint Bowyer completed the top-five.

"I was good enough to get the job done," Keselowski said in Victory Lane. "First I have to give credit to first, my wife (Paige) who was sick like I was. She took care of me just like everybody did in the care center. I couldn't be here right now without you.

"And second, Doug Yates, we over a piece of debris with probably 50 laps to go and overheated really bad and I thought there was no way this engine would make it to the end. Doug Yates and his team, they do a great job. I'm pretty sure it's all used up, Doug, but it's in Victory Lane."

The victory also made Keselowski the winningest driver (60 wins total) for team owner Roger Penske. He was tied with Mark Donohue (59) coming into this race.

"This is one I'm not going to forget for a very long time," he said. "Any win means a lot but that's a big number. Now, I get to wear that yellow Mark Donohue helmet. We're going to wear it next week.

"What a tremendous honor."

Rounding out the Top 10 were Kyle Busch, Erik Jones, Aric Almirola, Chris Buescher and Daniel Suarez.

Stage 3

Following the break between Stages 2 and 3, all of the lead-lap cars pit for tires and fuel with Harvick once again the first car off pit road.

On the restart on Lap 178, Harvick led the way followed by Kyle Larson, Blaney, Truex and Kyle Busch. Larson quickly grabbed the lead back on the restart lap and Harvick slipped to fourth.

Matt DiBenedetto was forced to pit shortly after the restart with a tire rub and smoke began building in the driver compartment.

On Lap 194, Kyle Busch got around his teammate, Truex, to move into second, less than a second off leader Larson.

Truex took back the second position on Lap 206. Harvick moved into third on Lap 214.

Several teams headed down pit road on Lap 220 to begin a round of green-flag pit stops.

On Lap 223, Kyle Busch had a right-rear tire go down and smoke began pouring from his No. 18 Toyota, which brought out the first caution of the race for an on-track incident.

Kyle Larson was first off pit road but was penalized for speeding and had to restart from the rear of the field. That left Harvick as the race leader when the race returned to green on Lap 228. He was followed by Blaney and Truex.

Ryan Blaney tried to make a move for the lead on the restart only to see Truex push Harvick to help clear him.

On Lap 231, Blaney got around Harvick to take the lead and Truex followed him past Harvick and into third.

With 80 laps to go in the race, Blaney continued to hold a small lead over Truex followed by Joey Logano, Harvick and Keselowski.

On Lap 255, Keselowski had made his way up to third.

With 60 laps to go in the race, Blaney continued to hold a small advantage over Truex. Keselowski was running third, Logano fourth and Harvick fifth.

Several teams began making a likely final green-flag pit stop on Lap 268. During the stops, Ryan Preece slammed into B.J. McLeod, who was making a wide turn into his pit stall. Both cars suffered extensive damage.

 

Truex was pitting at the time but was penalized for having a pit crew member go over the wall too soon and will have to restart from the rear of the field.

Once everyone had pit, Logano was leading the race, followed by Kurt Busch and Keselowski. The race returned to green on Lap 282.

On Lap 293, Keselowski passed his teammate, Logano, on the side to take the lead for the first time.

With 25 to go, Keselowski held a small advantage over Logano with Kurt Busch running in third and Truex in fourth.

On Lap 205, Logano – who was running second – was forced to pit under green for what he believed was a loose wheel on his No. 22 Ford. With 12 laps left in the race, Blaney was forced to pit with a flat tire.

Keselowski held a more than 2-second lead over Truex with 10 laps to go in the race.

Read Also:

Cla # Driver Manufacturer Laps Time Laps Led
1 2 United States Brad Keselowski  Ford 325   33
2 19 United States Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 325 0.218 4
3 1 United States Kurt Busch  Chevrolet 325 2.360 1
4 4 United States Kevin Harvick  Ford 325 5.126 45
5 14 United States Clint Bowyer  Ford 325 9.145  
6 18 United States Kyle Busch  Toyota 325 11.175  
7 20 United States Erik Jones  Toyota 325 11.639  
8 10 United States Aric Almirola  Ford 325 13.096 36
9 37 United States Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 325 13.314  
10 41 Mexico Daniel Suarez  Ford 325 13.808  
11 11 United States Denny Hamlin  Toyota 325 16.011  
12 42 United States Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 325 17.919 142
13 6 United States Ryan Newman  Ford 325 18.124  
14 21 United States Paul Menard  Ford 325 19.978  
15 88 United States Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 325 24.619  
16 38 United States David Ragan  Ford 325 27.952  
17 24 United States William Byron  Chevrolet 325 29.821  
18 17 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 324 1 lap 1
19 9 United States Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 324 1 lap  
20 8 United States Daniel Hemric  Chevrolet 324 1 lap  
21 3 United States Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 324 1 lap  
22 12 United States Ryan Blaney  Ford 324 1 lap 41
23 22 United States Joey Logano  Ford 324 1 lap 22
24 48 United States Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 323 2 laps  
25 13 United States Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 323 2 laps  
26 95 United States Matt DiBenedetto  Toyota 322 3 laps  
27 43 United States Darrell Wallace Jr.  Chevrolet 322 3 laps  
28 36 United States Matt Tifft  Ford 319 6 laps  
29 32 United States Corey Lajoie  Ford 319 6 laps  
30 96 United States Parker Kligerman  Toyota 318 7 laps  
31 15 United States Ross Chastain  Chevrolet 313 11 laps  
32 52 United States B.J. McLeod  Chevrolet 313 12 laps  
33 51 Cody Ware  Chevrolet 303 22 laps  
34 00 United States Landon Cassill  Chevrolet 284 41 laps  
35 47 United States Ryan Preece  Chevrolet 271 53 laps  
36 77 United States Garrett Smithley  Chevrolet 254 71 laps  
37 34 United States Michael McDowell  Ford 222 103 laps  

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Martin Truex Jr. escapes penalty, blasts lapped traffic

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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Atlanta
Drivers Brad Keselowski
Teams Team Penske
Author Jim Utter
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