NAS: Brad Keselowski prevails at Darlington

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All Brad Keselowski needed Sunday to snap his career-long losing streak was a good break.

The No. 6 RFK Racing driver finally got one.

Keselowski took advantage of a tussle up front, grabbed the lead with nine laps to go and won the NASCAR Cup Series’ Goodyear 400 on Sunday at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, S.C.

In a 33-lap dash after Kyle Larson’s wreck, Tyler Reddick ran down leader Chris Buescher on the backstretch, but the two cars made contact in Turn 3 with 10 laps left, knocking both cars out of the season’s 13th race as it stayed green.

Third-place Keselowski assumed the point and went on to break his 110-race winless streak, which dated back to Talladega in 2021, by beating Ty Gibbs by 1.214 seconds in the six-caution race.

“When Tyler got underneath (Buescher), I knew I had another shot at it,” Keselowski said after his 36th career win. “We caught a break. We’ve caught enough bad breaks in the last year or two. It’s nice to catch a good one.”

The Buescher-Reddick incident in front of him wasn’t good for either of them.

A week after coming in second in the closest finish in NASCAR history, Buescher finished 30th. Reddick, who led a career-high 174 laps, ended up 32nd.
Buescher, Keselowski’s RFK teammate, angrily grabbed Reddick on pit road and expressed his disgust at the incident.

“We got wrecked, that one’s as clear as day,” Buescher said. “I totally got used up. … That’s two weeks in a row we’ve had a shot to win races.

“One, I’m going to live in my head forever what I’d have done different. This one here? I need someone else to be more mature about it.”

Keselowski’s win gave Ford its first victory of 2024 as three blue ovals finished in the top five, rounded out by Josh Berry, Denny Hamlin and Chase Briscoe.

Two-time Darlington winner Erik Jones, who suffered a lower vertebra fracture in a violent wreck at Talladega, started 30th and finished 19th in his No. 43 Legacy Motor Club Toyota after missing two races.

On Throwback Weekend at the famed 1.366-mile speedway, drivers sported paint schemes on their cars commemorating ones from decades ago.

Top qualifier Reddick, driving his No. 45 Toyota decked out in a Tim Richmond paint scheme that he drove for two races in 1982, led from the outset and steadily pulled away from fellow front-row starter Keselowski.

Following a series of varied pit-stop strategies, Larson, last week’s winner at Kansas, easily beat Gibbs by two seconds for the 90-lap Stage 1 win with Keselowski well behind in third.

The 293-lap race’s first major incident occurred on a restart on Lap 129 when William Byron, Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Blaney raced three-wide between Turns 1 and 2.

On the low side, Byron’s Chevrolet crowded the Toyota of middle-man Truex, who made contact and forced Blaney’s Ford into the wall. Buescher got into the back of Truex, who hit Blaney’s No. 12 again as the third caution waved.

In the race’s tightest early racing, Reddick and Keselowski made contact with 16 laps to go in the second segment before the polesitter squeezed by Keselowski and claimed his second stage win of 2024 and first ever at Darlington.

–Field Level Media

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