2018 Brickyard 400 results: Brad Keselowski wins second straight race, Kyle Busch clinches NASCAR regular-season title
Keselowski now has momentum heading into the Round of 16
One week after winning a crown jewel race at Darlington, Brad Keselowski followed it up with a trip to Victory Lane at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the Brickyard 400.
It's the first NASCAR Cup Series win for Keselowski and team owner Roger Penske at the track. Penske now completes the sweep of Indianapolis after driver Will Power won the Indy 500 earlier this year. For Keselowski, it's the 26th win of his Cup career as he adds five more playoff points to his total ahead of Las Vegas.
With the conclusion of the race, the Round of 16 is now set with Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson, Clint Bowyer, Ryan Blaney, Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott, Aric Almirola, Erik Jones, Austin Dillon, Jimmie Johnson and Alex Bowman in the playoffs.
As far as playoff points were concerned Monday, Bowyer earned one with his Stage 1 victory, while Matt Kenseth won Stage 2, despite not being eligible for the playoffs. Additionally, Kyle Busch picked up 15 bonus playoff points by clinching the regular-season championship while Harvick earned 10 playoff points for finishing second in the regular-season standings.
Brickyard 400 results
- Brad Keselowski
- Erik Jones
- Denny Hamlin
- Kevin Harvick
- Clint Bowyer
- Kurt Busch
- Jamie McMurray
- Kyle Busch
- Paul Menard
- Ryan Newman
- Ryan Blaney
- Matt Kenseth
- Joey Logano
- Kyle Larson
- Chase Elliott
- Jimmie Johnson
- Michael McDowell
- Daniel Suarez
- William Byron
- Regan Smith
- Ty Dillon
- Austin Dillon
- Aric Almirola
- David Ragan
- Chris Buescher
- Ross Chastain
- Corey LaJoie
- Reed Sorenson
- JJ Yeley
- BJ McLeod
- Landon Cassill
- Jeffrey Earnhardt
- Alex Bowman
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
- Timmy Hill
- Matt DiBenedetto
- AJ Allmendinger
- Bubba Wallace
- David Starr
- Martin Truex Jr.
Stage 1: Competition cautions cause strategy calls
Since qualifying was cancelled due to weather, Kyle Busch -- the regular-season points leader entering the race -- started on the pole. He led all 11 laps before the competition caution came out. Busch intended to come down pit road before the caution flew on a strategy call, but missed the entrance. Harvick was able to pit but was penalized for an uncontrolled tire during his stop. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. also got penalized for an uncontrolled tire.
The penalty dropped Harvick to the rear of the field for the restart. During the competition caution, Busch's teammate Denny Hamlin stayed out and restarted from the lead. Despite not taking new tires, Hamlin was able to pull away from Busch as the stage progressed.
Hamlin held the lead until the competition caution, but not before Bowyer passed Busch for second place. Kurt Busch and Harvick pitted right before the competition caution, taking tires instead of fuel to flip the field under yellow. Harvick's strategy wouldn't pay off because he had to come down pit road a second time with an air hose issue while things also got worse for Stenhouse when he was dinged for speeding on entry.
Bowyer opted to take two tires instead of four and won the race off pit road. He restarted second behind Kurt Busch, who led the way as Stage 1 wound down. Not long after, Truex blew a tire, went spinning and suffered heavy damage before bringing his car in for the day.
The caution came out yet again, but this time it was Bowyer assuming the lead on the restart. Bowyer battled teammate Kurt Busch before eventually driving on to win the stage.
Stage 1 results
- Clint Bowyer (10 points plus 1 playoff point)
- Kurt Busch (9 points)
- Denny Hamlin (8 points)
- Kyle Larson (7 points)
- Kyle Busch (6 points)
- Brad Keselowski (5 points)
- Aric Almirola (4 points)
- Paul Menard (3 points)
- Chase Elliott (2 points)
- Erik Jones (1 point)
Stage 2: Fuel strategy continues
Kyle Busch and Harvick stayed out between stages, while Ryan Blaney won the race off pit road. Busch held the lead on the restart, as Harvick pushed past Menard for second. As Busch continued to lead, Bubba Wallace and David Starr made heavy contact and both crashed out of the race. Wallace got out of his car and signaled a thumbs up to the fans to indicate he was OK.
Under yellow, most of the leaders stayed out while drivers like Logano, Keselowski and Kurt Busch came in for adjustments. Kyle Busch restarted from the lead with a little over 35 to go in the stage.
Shortly after, Alex Bowman and AJ Allmendinger made contact and crashed, with each car suffering a decent amount of damage. Allmendinger had to have his car towed off the track. Bowman avoided the inside wall on the crash, which could have caused catastrophic damage. Bowman's crash all but ensured Jimmie Johnson's spot in the playoffs, while Bowman would have only been at risk with a new winner.
Harvick restarted from the lead with William Byron alongside him. Byron then began to slide while Bowyer and Blaney trailed the No. 4 car. As things began to materialize, JJ Yeley went spinning and brought out yet another caution.
Harvick stayed out under yellow while Keselowski and Byron came in. Byron was penalized for an uncontrolled tire. Harvick restarted from the lead and paced the field while Bowyer and Blaney trailed behind him once again.
The No. 4 car came down pit road from the lead with 10 to go in the stage, which handed the lead over to Bowyer. As Bowyer led, Kenseth asserted himself, climbing into the top five with five to go in the stage. Instead of staying out and gambling on fuel, Bowyer came down pit road alongside Denny Hamlin at the end of the stage to set them up for the final stage. Aric Almirola also pit near the end of the stage, but was dinged for a speeding penalty.
After the leaders pit, Kenseth assumed the lead with Chase Elliott in his rearview. Right before Kenseth came around for the green-and-white checkered, Kyle Busch pit, and was penalized for pitting too soon. Kenseth would then go on unchallenged to win the stage. Kyle Busch has clinched the NASCAR Cup Series regular-season championship and the 15 playoff points that come along with it.
Stage 2 results:
- Matt Kenseth (10 points)
- Chase Elliott (9 points)
- Erik Jones (8 points)
- Joey Logano (7 points)
- Kurt Busch (6 points)
- Daniel Suarez (5 points)
- Brad Keselowski (4 points)
- William Byron (3 points)
- Ryan Newman (2 points)
- Jimmie Johnson (1 point)
Final Stage: Chaos at the end
William Byron restarted the final stage from the lead before handing the lead over to Bowyer and being passed by Hamlin and Larson. Bowyer continued to pace the field with the two behind him in the initial phase of the stage.
While Bowyer led, Hamlin decided to pit on strategy from second place, moving Larson up to second from third. Larson and Harvick followed shortly thereafter before Bowyer made his way down a few laps later from the lead. This allowed Kurt Busch to take the top spot in the meantime.
Moments later, Busch pit which allowed Keselowski to take the lead for the first time in the race. Just as Keselowski was about to hit the pits, NASCAR waived the yellow flag for debris on the racetrack with 15 laps to go.
Hamlin and Bowyer stayed out under yellow, to remain on the front row while Jamie McMurray shuffled into third place for the restart with 12 to go. On the restart, Hamlin held the lead and despite a strong challenge from McMurray, Bowyer remained in second.
Austin Dillon slowed up on the racetrack as it appeared he had a tire going down, but Dillon was able to get his car onto pit road without a caution coming out. Just as it appeared Hamlin was out of the woods, Jeffrey Earnhardt and Landon Cassill got into a big crash, bringing out the caution and setting up for a critical restart at the end of the race.
Hamlin restarted from the lead with Keselowski in hot pursuit and Jones in third. Keselowski then battled with Hamlin, and took the lead as the white flag flew before going on unchallenged to win his second race in as many weeks.
CBS Sports live blogged the entire race. Read along to see what you missed from Monday's action.
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