Brad Keselowski raced to an unlikely victory in Sunday’s Food City presents the Supermarket Heroes 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway when leaders Chase Elliott and Joey Logano crashed with three laps to go.
Keselowski was running third before scooting by Elliott and Logano on the inside and taking the lead. His No. 2 Team Penske Ford sped on to a second win this season and the 32nd of his NASCAR Cup Series career.
“I could see Joey and Chase were getting really racy there and I didn’t know what was going to happen, but I knew if I kept my eye open something good might happen and, sure enough, it did,” Keselowski said after his third Bristol win. “I’m so happy for the team. This was a never-give-up effort. That will be in Bristol lore for a long time to come.”
After also drawing the pole position for Sunday’s race, he joked about heading to the casino to take advantage of his recent good luck. Keselowski led four times for 115 laps.
Down in the running order, he pitted for tires with 41 laps to go. At that point, he was simply looking for a top-10 finish.
“Once we were in the top 10, I thought we had a shot at the top five,” Keselowski said. “When we got in the top five, it was like we had a chance to do something more. I was in a good spot in fourth on the final restart and got to third. I was watching Chase and Joey and thinking, ‘This won’t be good.’ It was like I was at Vegas and had all the winning cards.”
The race continued under speed until the end and Logano finished 21st and Elliott 22nd. Logano confronted Elliott after the race and their crews continued the discussion.
“He wrecked me. He got loose underneath me. The part that’s frustrating is that afterwards a simple apology — like be a man and come up to someone and say, ‘Hey, my bad.’ But I had to force an apology, which to me is childish,” Logano said.
“I passed him clean. It’s hard racing at the end, I get that. But golly, be a man and take the hit when you’re done with it.”
Elliott, who led heading into the final restart, said it was simply a case of his No. 9 Chevrolet losing traction and sliding up into Logano’s Ford.
“I was going for the win, trying to get a run underneath and I got loose on the entry of (the corner),” Elliott said. “As soon as I turned off the wall, I had zero chance of making it. I will certainly take the blame.
“He was really good on the short runs and when he came by me with three, four laps to go, I thought that was my shot to win the race. I hated we wrecked, but you can’t go back in time and change it.”
Thanks to the chaos up front, Clint Bowyer went from fifth place to runner-up in the No. 14 Ford. Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson finished third in the No. 48 Chevrolet. Two-time and defending NASCAR champion Kyle Busch was fourth and Erik Jones, his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, fifth in their Toyotas.
Austin Dillon, Kurt Busch, William Byron, Christopher Bell and Bubba Wallace rounded out the top 10.
Bristol Motor Speedway will host the NASCAR Xfinity Series Cheddar’s 300 presented by Alsco on Monday, starting at 7 p.m.