With long run dominance Brad Keselowski takes NASCAR Xfinity race at Richmond

RICHMOND, VA - SEPTEMBER 08: Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Fitzgerald Glider Kits Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Virginia529 College Savings 250 at Richmond International Raceway on September 8, 2017 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

RICHMOND, Va. – In the long run, Brad Keselowski knew he had the superior car.

And that’s exactly what Keselowski got – a long run to close Friday night’s Virginia529 College Savings 250 at Richmond Raceway.

On lap 235 of 250 of the NASCAR Xfinity Series race, Keselowski powered his No. 22 Team Penske Ford past the No. 18 Toyota of Kyle Busch and pulled away to win by 3.008 seconds.

“When you can race with him (Busch), you know you’re having a good day, especially in this series,” Keselowski said after completing a spectacular celebratory burnout on the frontstretch. “When you race with Kyle, you race with the best. He and I may not always get along, but I have a lot of respect for his talent.”

After the second stage, which Keselowski won with a pass of Busch on the final circuit (Lap 150), the race ran without caution for the final 89 laps. Keselowski was driving a car with the new flange-fit composite body, which will be mandatory in the series by 2019.

“We weren’t quite where we wanted to be on the short runs, but good enough to be right there,” said Keselowski, who won for the second time this season, the fourth time at the .75-mile track and the 36th time in his career. “We just hung with him and got the long runs and we were able to pounce.

“That’s a testament to the team. (NBC Sports Analyst Jeff) Burton was asking me if it was the setup or the driver. I think it was both. I’m happy to get another win in this series. It’s a lot of fun and the first one in these new bodies. At least you know it isn’t an aero advantage. A great night at Richmond. I’m proud of my whole team.”

The cars of Keselowski and Busch were the clear class of the field, but behind them, series regular Elliott Sadler rolled home in fifth place and clinched the regular-season championship, along with the bonus of 15 playoff points that goes with it.

“We’re getting ourselves in playoff form,” said Sadler, who locked up the title with one race left in the regular season. “We’re fired up and ready to go.”

Making his last Xfinity start of the season, Busch had to settle for second.

“We just didn’t have long-run speed,” said Busch, who lost the lead for the final time in heavy traffic through Turns 1 and 2, after leading on five occasions for a total of 182 laps. “It’s tough to finish second, especially in the last go-round for the year.”

Ty Dillon ran third, followed by Daniel Hemric, Sadler, Christopher Bell, William Byron, Justin Allgaier and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Earnhardt’s No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet was the last car on the lead lap, thanks to the long green-flag run to finish the race – the same long run Keselowski was so glad to see.

NASCAR Xfinity Series Race Results Virginia529 College Savings 250

Richmond Raceway

Richmond, Virginia

Friday, September 8, 2017

1. (3) Brad Keselowski(i), Ford, 250.

2. (1) Kyle Busch(i), Toyota, 250.

3. (16) Ty Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 250.

4. (8) Daniel Hemric #, Chevrolet, 250.

5. (11) Elliott Sadler, Chevrolet, 250.

6. (14) Christopher Bell(i), Toyota, 250.

7. (6) William Byron #, Chevrolet, 250.

8. (9) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 250.

9. (5) Dale Earnhardt Jr.(i), Chevrolet, 250.

10. (2) Brennan Poole, Chevrolet, 249.

11. (7) Blake Koch, Chevrolet, 249.

12. (12) Ryan Reed, Ford, 249.

13. (13) Matt Tifft #, Toyota, 249.

14. (4) Cole Custer #, Ford, 249.

15. (18) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 249.

16. (15) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 249.

17. (25) Tyler Reddick, Chevrolet, 249.

18. (31) Dakoda Armstrong, Toyota, 249.

19. (10) Paul Menard(i), Chevrolet, 248.

20. (30) JJ Yeley, Toyota, 248.

21. (17) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, 248.

22. (23) Spencer Gallagher #, Chevrolet, 247.

23. (26) Brandon Jones, Chevrolet, 247.

24. (20) Dylan Lupton, Toyota, 247.

25. (22) Casey Mears, Ford, 246.

26. (19) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 246.

27. (24) Brandon Brown, Chevrolet, 246.

28. (21) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 245.

29. (35) Tommy Joe Martins, Chevrolet, 244.

30. (38) Harrison Rhodes, Chevrolet, 243.

31. (34) Spencer Boyd, Chevrolet, 242.

32. (39) Garrett Smithley, Chevrolet, 241.

33. (36) Mike Harmon, Dodge, 233.

34. (40) Bobby Earnhardt, Chevrolet, 229.

35. (29) David Starr, Chevrolet, Clutch, 216.

36. (28) Joey Gase, Chevrolet, Rear Gear, 164.

37. (37) John Graham, Chevrolet, Rear Gear, 78.

38. (32) Timmy Hill, Dodge, Overheating, 33.

39. (33) Reed Sorenson(i), Chevrolet, Vibration, 17.

40. (27) Jeff Green, Chevrolet, Electrical, 8.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  97.614 mph.

Time of Race:  01 Hrs, 55 Mins, 15 Secs. Margin of Victory:  3.008 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  3 for 26 laps.

Lead Changes:  11 among 5 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   K. Busch(i) 1-46; B. Keselowski(i) 47-58; K. Busch(i) 59-63; T. Dillon(i) 64-79; B. Gaughan 80-84; D. Hemric # 85-97; K. Busch(i) 98-149; B. Keselowski(i) 150-154; K. Busch(i) 155-172; B. Keselowski(i) 173; K. Busch(i) 174-234; B. Keselowski(i) 235-250.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  K. Busch(i) 5 times for 182 laps; B. Keselowski(i) 4 times for 34 laps; T. Dillon(i) 1 time for 16 laps; D. Hemric # 1 time for 13 laps; B. Gaughan 1 time for 5 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 3,20,62,21,22,18,00,88,2,7

Stage #2 Top Ten: 22,18,21,3,88,7,1,2,9,20

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