Brad Keselowski wins at Kansas for third victory of 2019

Yahoo Sports

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Brad Keselowski slipped past Alex Bowman with seven laps to go and sprinted away on a final two-lap restart to get his third win of 2019 at Kansas Speedway on Saturday night.

As Keselowski started alongside Erik Jones on the race’s final restart, he got to the gas as soon as he could. Maybe a little too soon. An early jump could certainly explain why Keselowski was unchallenged over the race’s final two laps.

“I think he definitely went early,” Jones said. “I expected it but he maybe went 10-15 feet early. It’s the nature of the game. It’s hard to call. NASCAR’s not going to make a stick and ball strike call on that. We’ve all done it, we’ve all been there and it’s frustrating as a driver but it happens.”

NASCAR has a designated restart zone in front of the start/finish line at every track. The leader of the race has the option of accelerating toward the green flag at any point within the zone.

The zone is designed to give the leader an advantage on the car alongside of him. And, as Jones said, NASCAR drivers like to game the system whenever possible. This is a racing series that’s built on pushing the limits, after all.

“I was right at the line,” Keselowski said with a smile. “The first line.”

By going as soon as possible — and even maybe pushing the boundaries of legality — drivers can catch their competitors off-guard and give them less of a chance to anticipate when the leader will accelerate.

It worked perfectly for Keselowski, who ties Kyle Busch for the Cup Series lead in victories. The two drivers have combined to win half of the 12 races contested so far this season.

Brad Keselowski (2) celebrates after winning the NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kan., Saturday, May 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
Brad Keselowski (2) celebrates after winning the NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kan., Saturday, May 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Harvick’s unscheduled pit stop jumbles things up

Kevin Harvick’s third-stage pit stop set the race up for an unpredictable finish.

Harvick had the best car throughout the first two stages but came to pit road not long after the third stage started because his car started handling poorly. His team changed right side tires — nothing appeared wrong with them after they were taking off the car — and removed a windshield tearoff that had gotten stuck to the grille.

The tearoff, according to crew chief Rodney Childers, got wrapped around the splitter of the car and cost Harvick precious aerodynamic downforce.

The pit stop cost Harvick any chance at the win. He struggled to get his lap back and never came close to sniffing the top 10 after leading 105 laps before the stop. He finished 13th.

Kyle Busch’s top 10 streak ends

Kyle Busch did not make it 12 top-10 finishes in 12 races.

Busch was on pace for a top-10 finish but suffered a cut left-rear tire while racing in the top five after a restart with 40 laps to go. He had to pit again to fix a tire rub and ended up finishing 30th.

Full results

1. Brad Keselowski

2. Alex Bowman

3. Erik Jones

4. Chase Elliott

5. Clint Bowyer

6. Jimmie Johnson

7. Kurt Busch

8. Kyle Larson

9. Tyler Reddick

10. Chris Buescher

11. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

12. Aric Almirola

13. Kevin Harvick

14. Daniel Suarez

15. Joey Logano

16. Denny Hamlin

17. Austin Dillon

18. Daniel Hemric

19. Martin Truex Jr.

20. William Byron

21. Matt Tifft

22. Corey LaJoie

23. Ryan Newman

24. Paul Menard

25. Ryan Preece

26. Michael McDowell

27. David Ragan

28. Ty Dillon

29. Bubba Wallace

30. Kyle Busch

31. Ross Chastain

32. Ryan Blaney

33. Bayley Currey

34. Quin Houff

35. Reed Sorenson

36. Matt DiBenedetto

37. Landon Cassill

38. Joey Gase

39. Timmy Hill

40. Cody Ware

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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