Brad Keselowski sails past Ryan Blaney and on to checkered flag in NNS race at Charlotte

1 Comment

CONCORD, N.C. – Brad Keselowski passed Penske Racing teammate Ryan Blaney with 14 laps to go and sailed on to victory in Friday night’s Drive for the Cure 300 Nationwide Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Overcoming tire issues, Keselowski earned his fourth win in the NNS this season, his 31st career NNS win and also his third NNS win in his career at CMS.

What’s more, Keselowski has now made nine starts in the NNS this season and has a finishing average of 1.9. His lowest finish in that nine-race stretch has been fourth.

“That was looking to be a long night, but we got it tuned in there,” Keselowski told ESPN in a post-race interview.

Later in the CMS media center, Keselowski added, “It was a night of adversity. We all got really nervous, then we lost a tire and I thought this was going to be a downward spiral, but my hat’s off to Jeremy (crew chief Jeremy Bullins) and the crew because they got us back in it.”

Fellow Sprint Cup regulars Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth finished second and third, respectively.

“Our competition was just better than us and beat us,” Busch said of Keselowski.

Added Kenseth, “It was okay, probably the most competitive we’ve been this year with me driving the No. 20. I wanted to win the race, but I was close.”

Blaney hung on to finish fourth, followed by Cup rookie Kyle Larson.

Sixth through 10th were Chris Buescher, Trevor Bayne, NNS points leader Chase Elliott, Elliott Sadler and Brian Scott.

“I’m disappointed with it, I really don’t like where we finished,” Elliott said. “We still have some work to do and hopefully we can find it by Texas.”

Regan Smith overcame early rear suspension problems to finish 11th.

“We’re not happy with 11th, but I think we can take a lot from it,” Smith said. “We had a race car that at times was capable of being up front. We lost some track position and earned some back.”

Alex Bowman was 12th, followed by Ryan Sieg, Dylan Kwasniewski, Ryan Reed, Brendan Gaughan, Landon Cassill, Mike Bliss, Dakoda Armstrong and David Starr.

Ross Chastain was 21st, followed by Jeremy Clements, Kevin Swindell, Corey LaJoie, Derrike Cope, Joey Gase, Jamie Dick, Chad Boat, Carlos Contreras and Ty Dillon.

Wrapping up the 40-driver field were James Buescher in 31st, followed by Eric McClure, Cale Conley, Timmy Hill, Jeff Green, Matt Dibenedetto, Tanner Berryhill, Will Kimmel III, JJ Yeley and Jeffrey Earnhardt.

The 200-lap race around the 1.5-mile fast track was marred by two big wrecks.

The first occurred on the opening lap, right after the green flag fell to start the race, and involved 12 cars.

MORE: No sooner does green flag fall, NNS race has 12-car wreck

The second big wreck was a six-car affair 75 laps into the race. It was an especially costly mishap for Ty Dillon, who came into the race ranked third in the NNS standings.

MORE: Another big wreck in NNS race; Ty Dillon to likely take big hit in points

Dillon finished 30th in the race and dropped to fifth in the overall season standings, now 64 points behind Dillon.

As for the rest of the NNS standings, Elliott retains his stranglehold on the top spot, and also opened a more significant lead, posting a 42-point edge over second-ranked Regan Smith.

Brian Scott moved up one spot in the rankings to third, 61 points back, while Elliott Sadler also moved up one position to fourth, 63 points behind Elliott.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Supercross: Tomac, Roczen square off in Arlington; Webb gives chase

Feld Entertainment Inc.
Leave a comment

The Monster Energy Supercross championship battle remains tight after Eli Tomac took the lead from Ken Roczen just last week at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Now the series heads to Arlington, Texas, and the AT&T Stadium for Round 8. (Watch on NBCSN or stream live.)

Tomac’s third win of the 2020 season and Roczen’s third-place finish at Tampa gives Tomac a four-point advantage in what is essentially a wide-open title fight with three races on tap in Arlington.

And while it is still much too early to call this a two-man battle, Cooper Webb is 11 points back with Justin Barcia 20 points out and Adam Cianciarulo 27 points in arrears – and all three cannot afford to lose any ground this week.

Tomac has the momentum. He allowed the field to get a jump after finishing seventh at Anaheim in the season opener, but finished fourth or better in the remaining events.

Roczen also got off to a slow start in Anaheim 1 with a sixth-place finish. He seemed to have a firm grasp on the red plate with four consecutive podium finishes until he slipped to sixth for a second time at San Diego.

Webb is coming into his own with three consecutive podiums in the last three events. If not for a 12th at St. Louis, he would be in immediate contention for the red plate.

This week is the second Triple Crown race of the season and Roczen hopes he has the same success as he did at Glendale. He won all three Mains that weekend and easily walked away with the overall victory. Tomac finished 2-2-3 for second overall. It is going to be imperative that a rider takes the early lead.

Blake Baggett qualified for last week’s Main, but chose to sit it out after experiencing sever muscle spasms. He will ride in Arlington.

Henry Miller will return to riding at Arlington after breaking a scapula in Australia.

Subscribe to the Supercross Pass for complete qualification and race coverage of the 2020 season.

For the third time in his career, Shane McElrath started the season with a victory. He won the season-opener in 2017 and 2018 in the West division at Anaheim, but failed to lock down a 250 title. His seventh career win moved him to 25th on the chart, however, with Travis Pastrana, Trey Canard, and a host of others.

Chase Sexton got his title hunt off to a strong start last week as well. He finished second to earn his 10th podium in 19 starts, but he will be hungry for a win. Despite the fact that he won last year’s 250 West championship, he has only one race victory to his credit.

Last week, Jeremy Martin looked like he had not been off his bike for more than a year. Returning from a 2018 injury, Martin snagged a podium finish in his first race back.

Schedule:

Qualifying: 1 p.m. on NBC Sports Gold
Race: 8:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Gold and NBCSN

Last Week:

Eli Tomac beat Cooper Webb and Ken Roczen in the 450 class.
Shane McElrath beat Chase Sexton and Jeremy Martin in the 250 class.

Last Dallas race (February, 2019):

Cooper Webb beat Ken Roczen and Marvin Musquin in the 450 class.
Austin Forkner beat Justin Cooper and Chase Sexton in the 250 class.

Points Leaders

450s:
Eli Tomac (155)
Ken Roczen (151)
Cooper Webb (144)
Justin Barcia (135)
Adam Cianciarulo (128)

250 West:
Dylan Ferrandis (135)
Justin Cooper (128)
Austin Forkner (122)
Brandon Hartranft (110)
Alex Martin (98)

250 East:
Shane McElrath (26)
Chase Sexton (23)
Jeremy Martin (21)
Garrett Marchbanks (19)
Jordon Smith (18)

Wins

450

(3) Eli Tomac (Anaheim 2, Oakland and Tampa)
(2) Ken Roczen (St. Louis and Glendale)
(1) Justin Barcia (Anaheim 1)
(1) Cooper Webb (San Diego)

250 West

(3) Dylan Ferrandis (Anaheim 2, Oakland, and San Diego)
(2) Austin Forkner (St. Louis and Glendale)
(1) Justin Cooper (Anaheim 1)

250 East

(1) Shane McElrath (Tampa)

Top-5s

450

(6) Eli Tomac
(6) Cooper Webb
(5) Jason Anderson
(5) Ken Roczen
(5) Justin Barcia
(3) Adam Cianciarulo
(2) Zach Osborne
(2) Blake Baggett
(1) Justin Hill

250 West

(5) Dylan Ferrandis
(5) Austin Forkner
(5) Justin Cooper
(4) Michael Mosiman
(4) Brandon Hartranft
(3) Alex Martin
(1) Christian Craig
(1) Jett Lawrence
(1) Jacob Hayes
(1) Luke Clout

250 East

(1) Shane McElrath
(1) Chase Sexton
(1) Jeremy Martin
(1) Garrett Marchbanks
(1) Jordon Smith

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter