Two winners were declared at the end of Saturday’s race. One was the winner of the StaGreen200, the other won $100,000. Brad Keselowski, driver of the 22 Hertz Ford was able to pull away from Kyle Busch and win the race from the pole position. Regan Smith was able to stay ahead of the 16 of Ryan Reed and was able to win himself and JR Motorsports $100,000 in the Dash4Cash program.
The race started with Brad Keselowski jumping ahead of the pack on lap one and Kyle Busch taking the lead promptly on lap two. The race was pretty dicey from the get go and the first caution came out on lap five when Trevor Bayne smacked the wall and had a left rear tire go down.
The race resumed on lap 10 and Kyle Busch predictably was able to keep the lead even as Josh Wise lost power and stalled on the backstretch and brought out the second caution.
During this caution, Matt DiBenedetto replaced Jeffrey Earnhardt in the 4 machine. Earnhardt is still recovering from a broken collarbone suffered in a motorcycle crash a few weeks back.
The race returned and stayed green on lap 18, and Busch once again beat the field to the line and was able to keep first place.
The running order stayed mostly the same until lap 35, when after a hard fought battle, Keselowski used a lapped car for a tactical advantage (having Kyle Busch stuck behind it) and passed Busch for the lead. By lap 40, Keselowski was able to gain an advantage of over a second on Busch. By lap 58, he extended his lead to over two seconds.
All was as calm as it could be, no cautions waved, and no one made any major moves, and green flag pit stops began on lap 77 when Jake Crum very nearly ran out of fuel, and Landon Cassil followed him down.
On lap 81 Chase Elliot came down pit road, but stalled and ultimately ended up a lap down when the running order was normal again.
‘Normal’ meaning Keselowski resumed the lead and Busch continued to trail behind as Keselowski continued to put cars a lap down. By lap 91 only eight cars were on the lead lap.
Caution number three came out on lap 92 when debris was spotted in turn one. Ryan Reed was the beneficiary of Aaron’s Lucky Dog and was suddenly back in contention for the Dash4Cash award.
The green flag came back out six laps later, and Keselowski continued to lead as Busch began to fall back. By the next caution on lap 102, Busch had fallen back to fifth.
This caution came out after Paul Menard became a little loose from a bump into Chase Elliot and proceeded to hit the wall. There wasn’t any major damage and after a quick cleanup the race resumed on lap 107.
Under the caution, Busch was one of a few to pit after he described his car as ‘wrecking loose.’ Taking into account the fact that only nine cars were on the lead lap at the time of the caution, Busch didn’t lose too many positions.
The biggest cleanup of the race came during the restart on lap 107. Elliot Sadler was spun by Brian Scott and oncoming traffic was collected. Paul Menard, James Buescher, Dakoda Armstrong, Carlos Contreras, and Austin Theriault were also involved.
On lap 113 Kyle Larson led the field back to green. By this time, Busch’s car came back to life as he began his drive back to the front. Keselowski began to start picking off the car lengths between him and race leader Larson. While things were heating up in the front of the pack, a little farther back, the racing for the lucky dog position was intense. At one point, Ty Dillon nearly spun out. He did save the car, but lost a few positions in the process.
On lap 119, Keselowski was able to get past Larson, while Busch and Matt Kenseth began to pressure Larson from behind as well. Both drivers were able to get by Larson, and Busch continued to try and eat away at Keselowski’s lead.
The race was once again calm up until lap 140 when the caution came out again. This caution was for debris in turn three. The battle for the lucky dog was won by Chase Elliot, but a majority of those fighting for the position took a wave around.
Many drivers came down pit road under this caution and Keselowski, Busch, and Kenseth beat everyone out. Despite the fact that he came back out first, Keselowski would not restart first under this caution, rather Chris Buescher would, after he decided to stay out.
Chris Buescher might have been first at the line on the restart, but Keselowski, along with Busch and Larson passed him, relegating him to fourth.
The race stayed quiet until the end. Despite his best efforts, Busch was never able to catch up to Keselowski, and Keselowski finished first and Busch second.
Kenseth was third, followed by Larson and Chris Buescher.
The points remained the same in the top three as Smith continues to lead Elliot Sadler and Chase Elliot.
Regan Smith won this week’s Dash4Cash making him, along with Chris Buescher, Elliot Sadler, and Brian Scott eligible for the Dash4Cash next weekend at Chicago.