BRAD KESELOWSKI STEALS ANOTHER ONE AT BRISTOL
Bristol Motor Speedway brings it all when the NASCAR Cup Series is in town, attitude, hard racing, underdogs, and upsets are all abound. That was proven to be true once again as Brad Keselowski stole another win late into the Supermarket Heroes 500.
Brad Keselowski started on the pole after another random draw while Aric Almirola picked second. On the green, Keselowski pulled away while Ryan Blaney got to second. After some strong racing through the field, the first caution of the night came out after Ryan Newman harmlessly spun. No one pitted and Keselowski kept the lead while Martin Truex Jr began to race him for the lead. Keselowski stayed ahead until the first competition caution on lap twenty-one. No leaders pitted again, and Keselowski drove away as the bottom line started to come in when Joey Logano started climbing through the field. The last competition caution came out on lap fifty, this time nearly everyone pitted. Keselowski was the first off pit-road, but Matt DiBenedetto got the lead after staying out. Keselowski took the lead back on green as Truex got into Denny Hamlin started to fall back. Ryan Blaney then took the lead after hounding Keselowski for a few laps while Chase Elliott got into second. Elliott started to fight for the lead and finally took it on his way to the stage one win.
Blaney was the first one out of the pits and drove away on the restart. Keselowski started gaining again and passed Blaney right as Bayley Currey hit the wall but avoided bringing out the caution. Blaney caught back for the lead and started racing Keselowski hard for it. The bad luck Blaney had this year struck again as he spun after getting loose; he was able to keep it off the wall, but Ty Dillon came around and misjudged the situation and turned into Blaney; their days were done. Elliott picked up the lead in the pits and kept it on the green, but that’s when the caution spree began. It started with Joey Gase spinning by himself but keeping it off the wall, then on the green Currey had another issue as he stalled his car. When the green waved again, Logano was right on Elliott for the lead, getting loose and almost wrecking both of them. The big one then hit as Jimmie Johnson got into Ricky Stenhouse Jr and spun him into Cole Custer, Kurt Busch, Alex Bowman, and Tyler Reddick. Everyone involved was done except for Busch who had heavy damage and fought to rebound all day. The red came out to clean up the carnage, afterwards when the yellow got the cars moving again, many drivers stayed out. After the green, Ryan Preece got into the wall and brought out the caution. When the green waved again, Elliott ran away with the lead and got an easy stage two win.
Hamlin and Kyle Busch stayed out for the stage three start; Hamlin kept the lead on green. Caution then waved for Chris Buescher hitting the wall twice thanks to a flat tire. Everyone stayed out and Kyle Busch was able to take the lead shortly after the green. The longest run of the day began to develop and stick around for a good while. The caution came out for Austin Dillon losing a tire and slowing down on the track. Busch first out of the pits, followed by Hamlin, but the story of the round of stops was Logan, Dillon, Keselowski, and Bubba Wallace all getting hit with penalties. Busch kept the lead as the caution waved again for another harmless spin, this time from Ryan Newman. Hamlin took the lead from Busch on the restart and drove away until he started encountering lapped traffic. Busch tool the lead back after getting Hamlin caught behind JJ Yeley and passing him. As the field started getting closer together, the caution came out again for a bout of contact between Kevin Harvick an Erik Jones; both had damage but continued on. Everyone pitted and Hamlin kept the lead with Johnson in second.
On the restart, Hamlin got pressured from Elliott, but Elliott began to fall some. Elliott made his way back to fight for the lead and took it right as Gray Gaulding hit the wall and brought out the caution. Thanks to timing lines, Hamlin kept the lead as cars in the back of the lead pack pitted. Logano pushes Hamlin to the lead on the green and took second. Another caution came out as Truex had an issue and started falling, stacking up the field and spinning into Almirola and Michael McDowell; all three had damage but drove away. Hamlin had a strong start on the green but Logano was able to keep up with him and start making runs for the lead. Hamlin got loose into a corner, which allowed Logano to make a pass, but Elliott had a strong run on the two and went to pass for the lead as well. Elliott getting underneath Logano and Hamlin messed up the air and got Logano loose and getting into Hamlin who spun into BJ McLeod, bringing out the seventeenth caution of the day with ten to go. On a restart with five to go, Elliott got the jump but Logano was able to keep right with him side by side for the lead. Elliott went too fast into the corner to keep the lead and got loose, getting into Logano, and sending them both into the wall. Keselowski, on new tires after pitting two cautions ago, took the lead with two laps to go. Keselowski held off a hard charging Clint Bowyer for his second win of the year at the expense of Chase Elliott.