KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Brad Keselowski wrapped up his third Monster Energy Series victory of the season Saturday night, emerging from a frantic late-race scramble to prevail in overtime at Kansas Speedway.
Keselowski’s Team Penske No. 2 Ford led just 12 of the 271 laps in the Digital Ally 400, which was extended four laps past the scheduled distance. Keselowski’s second win at the 1.5-mile Kansas City track was the 30th of his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career.
Kansas native Clint Bowyer came home fifth, giving Ford two of the top-five finishers.
Pole-starter Kevin Harvick led a race-high 105 laps and prevailed in Stage 1, but his hopes for a win were hindered by an unscheduled pit stop on Lap 179. Harvick’s Stewart-Haas Racing crew cleared a windshield tear-off from the grille of the No. 4 Ford and he rejoined the fray in 27th place, one lap off the pace.
Harvick rallied with a free pass back onto the lead lap and wound up 13th.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. put together a solid night, leading 11 laps and looking poised to be a contender before being shuffled during the late race restarts to come home 11th. He was joined in the top-15 by Aric Almirola (12th), Harvick (13th), Daniel Suarez (14th) and Joey Logano (15th).
The series’ next event is the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race, a non-points invitational scheduled Saturday (8 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM) at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
MENCS RACE TOP-10 FINISHERS
1st - Brad Keselowski
2nd - Alex Bowman
3rd - Erik Jones
4th - Chase Elliott
5th - Clint Bowyer
6th - Jimmie Johnson
7th - Kurt Busch
8th - Kyle Larson
9th - Tyler Reddick
10th - Chris Buescher
REMAINING FORD FINISHERS
11th - Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
12th - Aric Almirola
13th - Kevin Harvick
14th - Daniel Suarez
15th - Joey Logano
21st - Matt Tifft
23rd - Ryan Newman
24th - Paul Menard
26th - Michael McDowell
27th - David Ragan
32nd - Ryan Blaney
VICTORY LANE INTERVIEW
BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 2 Wurth Ford Mustang, Finished: 1st
WHAT WAS THE SITUATION EARLY IN THE RACE AND HOW HARD DID YOUR GUYS WORK ON THIS RACE CAR? “Yeah, we were just too loose early and then in the traffic I brushed the wall a little bit and we couldn't get it tightened up and finally with about 100 to go Paul Wolfe and the team made some adjustments and the car responded. I felt we were a top-3 or top-5 car but then the yellow came out right as we came to pit road and I thought we would have to claw to get a top-10. We clawed and clawed and a couple opportunities presented themselves and we were fighting for the lead. Alex Bowman ran an incredible race. I feel kind of bad. I think I kinda stole one from him. He was one of the best cars, him and Kevin Harvick. We just had a little fresher tires and I was able to catch the traffic just right to make the move on him and from there we were able to get the win.”
WHAT WERE THE RESTARTS LIKE? “Very hectic. You know you have to get the draft to get your car up to speed and the bottom lane just does not go. You are cursed if you are on the bottom lane. It is a dog fight for sure.”
“I am just thankful to be at this level. I never dreamed I would ever be in the Cup Series. I just dreamed of making a living in racing. I worked with guys like Mike Mittler who taught me the grit and energy and effort you have to have to be successful in this sport. Mike was local to this area and he passed away yesterday. It hurts to lose guys like that because they mean so much to me and the sport. I think this was hopefully something he would be proud of.”
POST RACE QUOTES
CLINT BOWYER, No. 14 Rush Truck Centers Ford Mustang, Finished: 5th
“Tonight wasn’t as good as I thought it was going to be. We struggled. We struggled with handling, especially as soon as the night fell and it got dark outside we were not handling at all. It was tight and it was loose and on top of the race track. With two stops to go we came in and raised the back of the car up and we got better in traffic and were able to race. Then all hell broke loose on the restart and things like that. It was tires, no tires, two tires. Everyone was on different strategies, people were a lap down that should have been up front. It was hard to even figure out who you were racing. We should have finished second. I had a huge run on both those guys but that kid, I guess he was willing to wreck himself to hold the position.”
HOW FRUSTRATING IS IT? “It is frustrating. It is always disappointing when you come here and don't get a win. A top-five was a solid night for us. We did a good job of fighting for that finish because it probably wasn’t exactly where we deserved to run the way we ran all night.”
WITH 30 TO GO YOU STARTED TO MAKE A RUN: “Yeah, you gotta go for it. You know those restarts are gonna be hectic. The 20 got to my outside over there getting into three and stalled me out and I really thought it was over. I got another run down here in one and two and got to the outside. It was hard to pass. Those things punch such a big hole in the air. You get behind in traffic and you just don't have as much downforce as the car in front of you. You have to swing out wide and go somewhere that he doesn't have the big wake in front of you. Some could do it better than others. Kevin (Harvick) was extremely fast. We were fast. Earlier in the race, he and I took off and I thought we were going to walk away from these guys. Halfway through I started slipping and sliding around and I knew we would have to make some adjustments and it was tricky to figure out which way to go with those adjustments. We just missed it a little bit.”
YOU A LITTLE FRUSTRATED WITH JONES? “Yeah, that wasn’t very smart. If it had been another scenario where I would have had some room I would have just turned him in front of the whole field and he would be back there wishing he wouldn’t have done that. Oh well.”