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Brad Keselowski Pulls Off Vegas Victory Over Dale Jr.
Las Vegas!! Las Vegas is a city well-known for it’s gambling, but the gambling is usually done on casino floors. Yesterday the gambling spilled onto the NASCAR raceway and a lot of drivers took part in it.
Yesterday’s race had a little bit of everything for everyone, and with 67 laps to go, all bets were off.
There race had the usual big name drivers battling for the top honors, and this was right out of a storybook…almost.
Watching the race and how both had kept the battle between themselves all race long you figured one of them would end up crossing the finish line first.
Then there was the battle for 3rd and 4th place between Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski.
And finally there was Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch battling out a three-way match up for a 5th place spot.
These back and forth battles were taking place until about lap 200 when Kevin Harvick’s brakes went out, ending his day and bringing out a caution.
When asked if he was upset after leading for so much of the day Harvick said, “there is still a lot of work to be done but I had a good car for the most part. Besides we still have a lot of racing to do this season so I can’t complain, and with the new race format we’re in the Chase and the rest will take care of its self.”
With that being said, all the other drivers were pitting and trying to stay in the hunt, and crew chiefs were said to be throwing caution to the wind and doing everything possible to get the cars ready enough to not have to make another pit stop in the race.
Some cars had 2 tires, other cars had 4 tires, some cars had no tires and full gas tanks, others had tires and no gas, and it was chaos. All these moves, or lack there of in some instances, played a big part in the last 67 laps of the race…
On lap 204, the restart found a new leader–Dale Earnhardt Jr., much to the joy of Jr. Nation. At that point Jr. was leading for the 3rd time of the day, and Jr.’s fans all hoped it would be the last lead change as the drivers started to the line with Carl Edwards right behind him.
Things remained that way until lap 222 saw another caution flag, leaving many to wonder who should and shouldn’t pit. When the race was underway again on lap 226, Dale Jr. and Edwards were still the top 2, but found 3rd place Brad Keselowski not too far behind them.
With only 27 laps to go things were starting to get really interesting and everyone except for Dale Jr. and Brad Keslowski gambled by changing the car order once again.
Once the pace car brought the cars around on lap 250, both Dale Jr. and Denny Hamlin were trying to save as much gas as possible.
While those two were trying to conserve what they had left, Keselowski on the other hand was told by his Crew Chief Paul Wolfe to pour on the pressure and to forget about saving gas.
Keselowski had just won the Nationwide race the day before so he was looking to seal back to back victories. Both Dale Jr. and Keselowski were trading the lead back and forth until lap 266 found Jr. in the lead and Keselowski right on his back bumper.
As both drivers started down toward turn 4 to come to the finish line, everyone was on their feet cheering only to have Jr. run out of gas and come home with a 2nd place finish. Keselowski and Dale Jr. were so far ahead of everyone that even with running out of gas Jr. finished 2nd because no one was close to those 2 coming down from turn 3.
With this win Keselowski is safely in the Chase, which he missed last year.
Dale Jr. was asked about losing the race because of his fuel running out, and all he did was congratulate Keselowski for finishing first and said with three races in the books for the season he had won one race and finished second in the other two which isn’t a terrible way to start the season.
He also said the two 2nd place finishes meant there is still a lot of room for improvement and experimentation with new things as the season progresses. It is going to be a fascinating season.