The first two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races have been all Ford shows. Sunday it seemed as though it would be again. Brad Keselowski took the lead in Sunday’s Kobalt 400 from Martin Truex Jr., on lap 243 and was pulling away in the closing laps. With two laps to go however, Keselowski slowed dramatically and Truex rocketed past and onto victory.
“We finally got some,” Truex said. “We definitely had our share of races where we’ve dominated and gave one away and it looked like today was going to be another one of those. The runs just didn’t work out the way we needed them.”
Truex was a deserving winner; he led the most laps,150,of 267, and became the first NASCAR driver to win all three of NASCAR’s new stages. Keselowski was stout however and appeared to be well on his way to his second consecutive win until the mechanical issue slowed him. An issue Keselowski said he was still unsure of.
“They’ll have to take it apart,” Keselowski said. “At the end we have to go to inspection and stuff, so we’re not allowed to look. I just know it was something major. It wouldn’t turn and I lost brakes, so that’s a pretty good indicator, but that’s the way it goes. That’s racing and that’s why you watch until the end and you never know what’s gonna happen.”
The drama of Keselowski slowing however was just the beginning.
On the final turn of the final lap, Joey Logano and Kyle Busch were racing for third. Entering turn 3, Logano bounced up off the bottom of the turn and into Busch. Busch was spun diving across the track and onto pit road. He would slide across the line and finished twenty-second. Logano was fourth behind Kyle Larson in second and Chase Elliott third. Keselowski held on for fifth.
After the race, on pit road, Busch confronted Logano. A wrestling match ensued with Logano being pulled away, and Busch tangling with crewmembers on the ground. Busch walked away from the fray bloodied.
“I don’t know,” Logano said when asked what happened. “We were just racing hard there at the end. I was underneath him on the backstretch and he tried to crash me into the corner getting underneath Brad (Keselowski) there and at that point I was just trying get through the corner. I was sideways all the way through and get into him. Nothing intentional. I understand his frustration, he crashed. The same thing could have happened into 3 what he did to me.”
Denny Hamlin was sixth, Ryan Blaney seventh, Jamie McMurray eighth with Matt Kenseth and Clint Bowyer rounding out the top 10.
The win for Truex was the eighth of his career and his first at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
”It’s been a good start to the year for us,” Truex said. “We had a solid day at Daytona and ran out of gas. Had a solid day at Atlanta and had some issues that cost us some spots. We’ve been solid and this is a brand new 2018 Toyota Camry for us, so it’s been a little bit to learn. It’s been a bit different and we’re still learning so hopefully we’ll continue to grow and get better.”
NASCAR continues its Western swing as it heads to Phoenix next Sunday for the Camping World 500.