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 – 271 laps
|1||Brad Keselowski||Team Penske||Ford||3h06m09.s|
|2||Alex Bowman||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||0.205s|
|3||Erik Jones||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||0.381s|
|4||Chase Elliott||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||0.497s|
|5||Clint Bowyer||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||0.840s|
|6||Jimmie Johnson||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||0.873s|
|7||Kurt Busch||Chip Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet||1.027s|
|8||Kyle Larson||Chip Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet||1.089s|
|9||Tyler Reddick||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||1.113s|
|10||Chris Buescher||JTG Daugherty Racing||Chevrolet||1.446s|
|11||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||1.452s|
|12||Aric Almirola||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||1.455s|
|13||Kevin Harvick||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||1.697s|
|14||Daniel Suarez||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||3.154s|
|15||Joey Logano||Team Penske||Ford||1 Lap|
|16||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||1 Lap|
|17||Austin Dillon||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||1 Lap|
|18||Daniel Hemric||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||1 Lap|
|19||Martin Truex Jr.||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||1 Lap|
|20||William Byron||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||1 Lap|
|21||Matt Tifft||Front Row Motorsports||Ford||1 Lap|
|22||Corey LaJoie||Go FAS Racing||Ford||1 Lap|
|23||Ryan Newman||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||2 Laps|
|24||Paul Menard||Wood Brothers Racing||Ford||2 Laps|
|25||Ryan Preece||JTG Daugherty Racing||Chevrolet||2 Laps|
|26||Michael McDowell||Front Row Motorsports||Ford||2 Laps|
|27||David Ragan||Front Row Motorsports||Ford||2 Laps|
|28||Ty Dillon||Germain Racing||Chevrolet||2 Laps|
|29||Darrell Wallace Jr.||Richard Petty Motorsports||Chevrolet||2 Laps|
|30||Kyle Busch||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||3 Laps|
|31||Ross Chastain||Premium Motorsports||Chevrolet||3 Laps|
|32||Ryan Blaney||Team Penske||Ford||7 Laps|
|33||Bayley Currey||Rick Ware Racing||Ford||8 Laps|
|34||Quin Houff||Spire Motorsports||Chevrolet||8 Laps|
|35||Reed Sorenson||Premium Motorsports||Chevrolet||9 Laps|
|36||Matt DiBenedetto||Leavine Family Racing||Toyota||Engine|
|37||Landon Cassill||StarCom Racing||Chevrolet||10 Laps|
|38||Joey Gase||MBM Motorsports||Toyota||13 Laps|
|39||Timmy Hill||MBM Motorsports||Toyota||14 Laps|
|40||Cody Ware||Petty Ware Racing||Chevrolet||26 Laps|