Brad Keselowski charged past race leader Kyle Busch late in Sunday’s “Kobalt 400” at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and kept his #2 Team Penske Ford in front over the final 6 laps to notch his first victory of the young season. Keselowski overcame a speeding penalty on pit road to claim his 18th career Cup Series win and first since March of last year at Auto Club Speedway – 34 races ago.
Keselowski’s margin of victory over teammate Joey Logano was .067 of a second. Jimmie Johnson led a race-high 76 laps and finished third in his bid for back-to-back victories after winning last weekend in Atlanta. Busch grabbed 4th place with Austin Dillon completing the top five. Pole sitter Kurt Busch led only the first 31 laps and finished 9th, one of 22 drivers running on the lead lap with Keselowski at the checkered flag.
The afternoon began with 40-mile-an-hour winds whipping across the 1-1/2 mile desert oval and it looked for a while near the end of the day that Busch would blow the field away after seizing the lead on a late restart with a daring three-wide pass and pulling away. But the #18 Toyota developed a vibration in the closing laps that forced the reigning Sprint Cup Series champion to eventually surrender the lead to Keselowski.
– story by John Singler
Unofficial Driver Standings after Las Vegas
Rank Driver (wins) Points Behind +/-
1 Kyle Busch 116 LEADER 0
2 Jimmie Johnson (1) 110 -6 +3
3 Kevin Harvick 109 -7 -1
4 Joey Logano 104 -12 +3
5 Kurt Busch 102 -14 +1
6 Brad Keselowski (1) 98 -18 +4
7 Carl Edwards 96 -20 -4
8 Denny Hamlin (1) 93 -23 -4
9 Martin Truex, Jr. 90 -26 -1
10 Austin Dillon 90 -26 -1