Kansas NASCAR Cup: Keselowski beats Bowman after late surge

Penske’s Brad Keselowski survived a thrilling overtime finish to take victory in the NASCAR Cup Series race at Kansas.

After failing to finish in the top 10 in the first two stages of the race, Keselowski was propelled into contention late on in the final stage when a caution was issued with 28 of the 267 laps remaining.

Of the 13 drivers on the lead lap, Keselowski was one of five to pit for fresh tyres and surged through the field at the restart to challenge race leader Alex Bowman.

Despite a staunch defence from Hendrick Motorsports driver Bowman, Keselowski passed the #88 car around the outside with seven laps remaining.

Matt DiBenedetto suffered a puncture moments later that plunged the race into overtime, but Keselowski launched clear of the field at the final restart to control the run to the chequered flag.

Bowman sealed an unfortunate new record, becoming the first driver to finish three consecutive races in second place without owning a career victory.

He inherited the race lead when polesitter and stage one winner Kevin Harvick suspected he had a loose right-front wheel early on in the final stage.

The Stewart-Haas Racing driver pitted and the team removed a large piece of plastic debris from the front of his Ford, as well as changing the right-side tyres.

Harvick eventually battled back onto the lead lap, utilising a free pass late on, but ended up 13th.

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Erik Jones finished in third place courtesy of an aggressive defence of position against a surging Clint Bowyer in his SHR Ford on the final lap.

Bowyer, who had to release the throttle to avoid spinning Jones into the wall, argued that he “should have finished second” had it not been for Jones’s block.

Instead, Bowyer crossed the line in fifth.

Chase Elliott battled back from the rear of the field after being one of 11 cars to fail pre-race technical inspection. He climbed to second by the end of stage one, before passing Harvick in the final 20 laps of stage two to grab that victory.

However, Elliott lost ground during the pitstops at the start of stage three, and slipped back to fifth. He struggled to regain the track position and failed to lead a lap for the rest of the race, although did finish ahead of Bowyer in fourth.

His Hendrick Motorsports team-mate Jimmie Johnson sealed sixth, using the same pit strategy as Keselowski and Jones to gain ground in the closing laps.

In only his second Cup race, reigning Xfinity series champion Tyler Reddick finished ninth for Richard Childress Racing, having run as high as third.

Kyle Busch’s record equalling streak of 11-consecutive top 10 finishes at the start of a Cup season ended with 30th place.

The JGR driver challenged for victory, battling Bowman for the lead midway through stage three, but slipped out of contention as a result of a pitlane penalty and later contact with Bowyer and Jones that led to a tyre rub.

Race result

Pos Driver Team Car Laps
1 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford 271
2 Alex Bowman Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 271
3 Erik Jones Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 271
4 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 271
5 Clint Bowyer Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 271
6 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 271
7 Kurt Busch Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 271
8 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 271
9 Tyler Reddick Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 271
10 Chris Buescher JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 271
11 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford 271
12 Aric Almirola Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 271
13 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 271
14 Daniel Suarez Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 271
15 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 270
16 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 270
17 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 270
18 Daniel Hemric Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 270
19 Martin Truex Jr. Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 270
20 William Byron Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 270
21 Matt Tifft Front Row Motorsports Ford 270
22 Corey LaJoie Go FAS Racing Ford 270
23 Ryan Newman Roush Fenway Racing Ford 269
24 Paul Menard Wood Brothers Racing Ford 269
25 Ryan Preece JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 269
26 Michael McDowell Front Row Motorsports Ford 269
27 David Ragan Front Row Motorsports Ford 269
28 Ty Dillon Germain Racing Chevrolet 269
29 Darrell Wallace Jr. Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet 269
30 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 268
31 Ross Chastain Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 268
32 Ryan Blaney Team Penske Ford 264
33 Bayley Currey Rick Ware Racing Ford 263
34 Quin Houff Spire Motorsports Chevrolet 263
35 Reed Sorenson Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 262
36 Matt DiBenedetto Leavine Family Racing Toyota 261
37 Landon Cassill StarCom Racing Chevrolet 261
38 Joey Gase MBM Motorsports Toyota 258
39 Timmy Hill MBM Motorsports Toyota 257
40 Cody Ware Petty Ware Racing Chevrolet 245

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