Brad Keselowski claimed his second victory in a row and fifth for the season at Chicagoland Speedway in the opening race of the chase. With the victory he secured a spot in the Contender round of the run for the championship. The victory was the first for Ford Motor Company at Chicagoland Speedway.
Keselowski took the lead in the final laps by splitting the battling Kevin Harvick and Kyle Larson and pulling away.
“I am not really sure what to say,” he said following the race. “I don’t really know what happened. I just know we got to the lead. There was traffic and I was just digging and in the zone. The recorder was turned off so I don’t remember what happened. I had my head down doing all I could do. We had a great Miller Lite Ford Fusion that I knew from the start would be good but man it was really awesome the last few runs. We really dialed it in and the 2 crew did a excellent job. The win means a lot. But my boss would say don’t read your own press clippings,” concluded the former champion.
Kyle Larson would hold on for a top three finish after brushing the wall battling with Jeff Gordon for second after the final caution period of the day.
“Man, I was so close. I didn’t need that caution there. I was just cruising out front and then we got that yellow and I had to battle (Kevin) Harvick really hard then. That allowed Brad (Keselowski) to get by both of us. It really ended our shot at a win there. We had one more shot there at the last restart, but just didn’t have enough for Brad. He was really good around the bottom. He was about the only car that I thought could get around the bottom all race long. I had a lot of fun gripping the wall. I ran inches off of it the whole race and finally got into it there battling Jeff (Gordon). I had a really good Target Chevy,” commented third place Larson.
Jeff Gordon would hold on for second after fading early on.
“This is a great sign for us to come out of here solid with a second place finish,” stated four time champ Gordon. “The whole team effort was extremely solid and that’s a great way to get started, especially with restarts like that to come out second. Brad (Keselowski) is really strong and Joey (Logano) is really strong in those short runs, and we had them beat I think, prior to that. Kevin (Harvick), well, maybe (Kyle) Larson, too, had us all beat prior to that. But still we were a top three or four all day long so to come in second,” he continued, “I couldn’t be more proud of this Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet team.”
The heartbreak of the race belonged to Aric Almirola who blew an engine on lap 231. Almirola commented on twitter, “So proud of my team! We rose to the occasion today and proved we can compete in the chase. Heartbroken for sure but they knew we were there.”
The race was slowed by six cautions including one for repair of the SAFER barrier when the foam pyramids within the steel barrier collapsed.
The Chase standings going into race two are as follows, with Keselowski assured of advancing to round two. He is the only driver guaranteed to advance thus far.
|11||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr|
|14||78||Martin Truex Jr|
|17||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr|