Keselowski Steals Victory at Auto Club 400
Brad Keselowski only led one lap on Sunday at the Auto Club 400, but it was the only lap that mattered.
Keselowski beat Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch on Sunday, finishing .711 seconds ahead of the former to win his first Sprint Cup race of the season. Keselowski’s win is the 17th of his career.
“It was really an up and down day, for sure, but as a team and Paul and the guys on pit road kept fighting,” said Keselowski after the race. “At the end, we caught some breaks and made the most of the breaks we caught, and that was kind of the story of our race. It looked like we were probably gonna finish sixth or seventh there and then that yellow came out [on Lap 185]. We came in and pitted and drove up a little bit. And then caught another yellow and thought, ‘Now what do we do?’”
“So Paul made the call to come down pit road and put four tires on and when he said that I said, ‘This could either go really good or really bad.’ I didn’t know which one it was gonna be. Some guys stayed out. Some guys took two tires and all kinds of different strategies and on the restart we were able to find our way through the lanes and get to the front there and somehow end up in victory lane leading the last lap. That’s kind of a race car driver’s dream and this is one we’re gonna sit back and go ‘wow’ for a while on.”
Keselowski’s victory is a testmament to his driving and his crew’s quick thinking, but also a solid indication of the chaos that was. In all, there were seven cautions due to a number of skirmishes.
The result moves Keselowski into fifth overall in the standings. Harvick remains in first with 225 points—a product of two wins and five top five finishes in five races—followed by Keselowski’s Penske teammate Joey Logano in second, Martin Truex Jr. in third, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in fourth.