Keselowski wins Clash at Daytona in Penske 1-2

Brad Keselowski executed the perfect strategy in the Advance Auto Parts Clash on Sunday—stay out front to the finish.

Keselowski wins Clash at Daytona in Penske 1-2
Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford Fusion
Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford Fusion celebrates his win
Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford Fusion
Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford Fusion celebrates his win
Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford Fusion
Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford Fusion, Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford Fusion and Kurt Busch, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Fusion top 3 finishers
Joey Logano, Team Penske, Shell Pennzoil Ford Fusion
Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford Fusion

Keselowski took the lead on Lap 39 and held the point to the checkered flag at Daytona International Speedway.

“Oh my god, we won,” Keselowski said. “Hell yeah, we’re going to party tonight.”

Joey Logano, Kurt Busch, Ryan Blaney and polesitter Austin Dillon rounded out the top five finishers.

“I was worried about the run but the car was way overheating there at the end and I was more worried about it blowing up than anything else," Keselowski said. "Doug Yates (engine builder) and his guys did a good job giving me something really durable to take all that and keep digging.
 
"I am really proud of the whole effort here. What a way to start Speedweeks, putting the Miller Lite Ford in Victory Lane. I am really proud of my team.”
 
“I was worried about the run but the car was really overheating at the end,” Keselowski said. “But what a way to start Speedweeks. I’ve never won one here but it only takes one to break through.”

Dillon led the field to green but Hamlin quickly seized the point out of Turn 2. By Lap 5, the drivers were running single file. Larson was running fifth when he became loose, bounced off of Stenhouse and regain control before dropping to 10th.

Chase Elliott moved to the point on the backstretch after nine circuits. He traded the point with Dillon over the next five laps. Johnson, who was running 12th, bounced off of Larson on Lap 20, but gathered the No. 48 Chevy and continued in the middle of the pack. 

Joey Logano, led Lap 23 before pitting. Eleven other drivers followed on Lap 24. Larson assumed the point but was passed by Kevin Harvick, who led the race when the caution came out on Lap 26. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ryan Newman, Larson and Jamie McMurray comprised the top five at the line.

Johnson, Newman and Larson topped off before the race returned to green on Lap 30. Keselowski had the lead followed by Elliott, Blaney, Logano and Kyle Busch. Kurt Busch, Jones, Austin Dillon, Truex and Hamlin completed the top 10.

With a push from Logano, Jones moved up to P2 on Lap 33 and contended for the point. Elliott came through the inside of the field then attempted to pass Keselowski on the outside in Turns 3 and 4 as chaos broke out behind the leaders. Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray collided sending the No. 1 Chevy into the spin cycle. Before completing Lap 35, Dillon, Harvick, McMurray, Kurt Busch, Newman, Larson and Johnson pitted. 

Elliott led the field to green on Lap 39 followed by Keselowski, Hamlin, Truex, Jones, Blaney, Logano, Kyle Busch, Kahne and Stenhouse. Harvick restarted 11th followed by Johnson, Dillon, Newman, Larson, Kurt Busch and McMurray.

Keselowski moved back to the point followed by Elliott. His new teammate Blaney gave him a push on Lap 41, however, the Toyotas of Truex and Kyle Busch ganged up on the Fords over the next lap. By Lap 42, the Penske Fords ran first, second and third.

NASCAR penalized Stenhouse with a pass-thru penalty for going below the double-yellow line to advance his position on Lap 43. The No. 17 Ford served his penalty on Lap 46 as McMurray retired from the event.

The Team Penske parade continued at the front with Johnson, Kurt Busch, Larson, Kahne, Kyle Busch, Jones and Hamlin in tow. When the field completed Lap 50 the top eight drivers ran single-file with Hamlin attempting to start a second line to no avail.

With help from Truex, Hamlin moved to the bottom again but still trailed Keselowski by .597-seconds.

The Toyotas made another run with Kyle Busch leading the line but still couldn’t catch the Penske Fords on Lap 55. The field lapped Stenhouse in Turns 1 and 2 on Lap 56.

Coming to Lap 60, the top 13 cars ran single-file with Keselowski at the point for the last 25 laps. Harvick pulled out of the line and dropped from 10th to 14th after losing the draft on Lap 62. Hamlin, who was ninth, dropped low again but fell to 11th.

With 10 laps remaining, Harvick lost 4.7-seconds off of leader Keselowski. With seven laps remaining, Keselowski’s grille was covered with a large piece of debris. The No. 2 team told the driver it was of no concern.

Coming to the white flag, Dillon went low with Elliott as Blaney relinquished second in an attempt to pass his teammate.

“I should have known better,” Blaney said after the race.

As the field came through Turn 3, Larson got a run and turned Johnson into the wall. Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Elliott and Truex were also collected in the melee.

 

Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Jones, Harvick and Larson completed the top 10. 

The race was slowed by two cautions.

Cla#DriverManufacturerLapsTimeLaps Led
1 2 united_states Brad Keselowski  Ford 75 Leader 41
2 22 united_states Joey Logano  Ford 75 0.102 1
3 41 united_states Kurt Busch  Ford 75 0.238  
4 12 united_states Ryan Blaney  Ford 75 0.346  
5 3 united_states Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 75 0.742 2
6 11 united_states Denny Hamlin  Toyota 75 2.513 7
7 18 united_states Kyle Busch  Toyota 75 10.320  
8 20 united_states Erik Jones  Toyota 75 17.198  
9 4 united_states Kevin Harvick  Ford 75 28.247 1
10 42 united_states Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 75 --- 2
11 31 united_states Ryan Newman  Chevrolet 75 56.167  
12 48 united_states Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 74 0.217  
13 9 united_states Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 74 0.705 14
14 78 united_states Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 74 0.804  
15 95 united_states Kasey Kahne  Chevrolet 74 0.819  
16 17 united_states Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 73 -3.000  
17 1 united_states Jamie McMurray  Chevrolet 43 -33.000  
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