Sunday, September 14, 2014

Brad Keselowski Wins Chase Opener

Originally written for CLNS Radio.

Brad Keselowski won the 400 from Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday to clinch a spot in the next round of the Chase.

Photo courtesy Jerry Markland/Getty Images
Keselowski led 61 laps throughout the day, but he made a daring 3-wide pass for the lead just 10 laps from the finish to win the race.

“I saw Kyle [Larson] and Kevin [Harvick] racing really hard and aggressively side-drafting,” Keselowski said.  “I just waited and the car stuck and everything just came together.”

Keselowski had to start in the back of the pack, and many people did not think he could win from deep in the field.  Keselowski said he knew his team could get him to the front.

“When you start in the back, a lot of people don’t think you can win.  We had a great car, and the whole No. 2 team did a great job.”

With the win, Keselowski clinched a spot in the second round of the Chase. 

Kyle Busch started on pole after qualifying was rained out on Friday, and he raced early with Jeff Gordon and Jamie McMurray.

McMurray looked strong throughout the first 100 laps, but after losing the lead he made contact with the wall and faded late in the race.

Rookie Kyle Larson took the lead on a late-race restart, and he raced side-by-side with Kevin Harvick for the lead.  While the two were racing hard, Keselowski shot through the middle to make a 3-wide pass for the lead.

Keselowski was running away from the field when the final caution of the day came out with 10 laps to go.  

Keselowski and Larson raced side-by-side for the lead on the following restart, but Larson made contact with the wall and that ended his fight for the lead.

Keselowski was able to run away from the field over the final five laps, and he took his car to victory lane for the fifth time this season.

Unofficial results:

1. Brad Keselowski
2. Jeff Gordon
3. Kyle Larson
4. Joey Logano
5. Kevin Harvick
6. Denny Hamlin
7. Kyle Busch
8. Kurt Busch
9. Jamie McMurray
10. Matt Kenseth
11. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
12. Jimmie Johnson
13. Kasey Kahne
14. Martin Truex Jr.
15. Ryan Newman
16. Austin Dillon
17. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
18. Tony Stewart
19. Danica Patrick
20. Carl Edwards
21. Paul Menards
22. AJ Allmendinger
23. Greg Biffle
24. Brian Vickers
25. Marcos Ambrose
26. Casey Mears
27. Justin Allgaier
28. Landon Cassill
29. Reed Sorenson
30. Cole Whitt
31. David Ragan
32. Michael McDowell
33. Josh Wise
34. David Gilliland
35. Alex Bowman
36. Joe Nemechek
37. Joey Gase
38. Travis Kvapil
39. Clint Bowyer
40. Michael Annett
41. Aric Almirola
42. Ryan Truex
43. Mike Bliss

Next week, the Challenger Round of the Chase continues at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.  The Sylvania 300 can be seen on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. EST on ESPN.

Keselowski puts his name on the official Chase Grid. (Photo courtesy Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

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