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

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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.

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‘One and Only’ Kyle Larson wins Outlaws opener at Knoxville Raceway

Kyle Larson wins Knoxville
Paul Arch/World of Outlaws
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The magic of dirt racing wins for Kyle Larson continued Thursday night at Knoxville Raceway, where he scored his third consecutive World of Outlaws victory at the famed half-mile track to open “The One and Only.”

After starting 10th, Larson sliced through the field and passed pole-sitter Logan Schuchart to lead the final eight laps in the No. 57 of car owner Paul Silva.

“Just an awesome race,” Larson said after earning $10,000 for his second consecutive NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series victory (after winning at Pevely, Missouri, last Saturday), his sixth Outlaws victory this season and 14th of his career.

LARSON ON NASCAR‘I’d love an opportunity if it came’

“I was able to track Logan down and hit the bottom really well in (turns) 1 and 2 and got a run on him.  It felt like I needed to take advantage of that before we got to heavier traffic and slid him and felt some contact. So, glad to see him not in the wall or anything like that. Just, hard work there. Heartbeat is up again.”

Kyle Larson wins Knoxville
Kyle Larson scored his sixth World of Outlaws victory Thursday (Trent Gower/World of Outlaws).

It was the fourth Knoxville victory this year for Larson, who swept a World of Outlaws doubleheader weekend June 12-13 at the Sprint Car Captial of the World. He has more than 30 victories this year in sprint cars and midgets.

The One and Only continues Friday night with another $10,000 feature race that will set the starting lineup for Saturday’s Brownells Capitani Classic, which pays $50,000 to win.

The event is the Outlaws’ richest purse of 2020 and subs in for the annual Knoxville Nationals, which was canceled for COVID-19 concerns. Larson, a two-time Knoxville Nationals runner-up, has said winning The One and Only would be on the same as Knoxville’s signature event because of its tough three-day format.

Through the first of three nights, Schuchart and Larson are tied for second in The One and Only points standings, which factor in qualifying, heats, dash and feature races. Aaron Reutzel, an All Star Circuit of Champions stalwart who finished third Thursday, leads with 430 points.

A crash in Thursday’s 25-lap feature eliminated past Outlaws champions Brad Sweet and Donny Schatz after Cory Eliason spun in front of Sweet in Turn 1 to start the wreck, which also collected Sweet’s teammate, James McFadden. Sweet and Schatz finished outside the top 20, which moved Schuchart into the points lead for the 2020 season.

Schuchart still seemed slightly miffed after finishing second to Larson.

“As the race went on, I felt like I wasn’t hitting my marks as good,” he said. “I would have liked to of had a little bit better of a race with Kyle there. I wish his slide job was a little better there, but he’s got a reputation to live up to. That’s where you let other people make the rules and maybe we’ll get him next time.”


RESULTS

NOS Energy Drink Feature (25 Laps) – 1. 57-Kyle Larson [10]; 2. 1S-Logan Schuchart [1]; 3. 87-Aaron Reutzel [2]; 4. 2-Carson Macedo [24]; 5. 41-David Gravel [6]; 6. 21-Brian Brown [7]; 7. 71-Spencer Bayston [3]; 8. 18-Gio Scelzi [15]; 9. 12N-Joey Saldana [5]; 10. 5-Ian Madsen [19]; 11. 17A-Austin McCarl [21]; 12. 1A-Jacob Allen [11]; 13. 7BC-Tyler Courtney [16]; 14. 7S-Jason Sides [20]; 15. 24-Rico Abreu [22]; 16. 4-Terry McCarl [13]; 17. 2KS-Brooke Tatnell [18]; 18. O9-Matt Juhl [23]; 19. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [25]; 20. 83-Daryn Pittman [9]; 21. 11K-Kraig Kinser [17]; 22. 15-Donny Schatz [8]; 23. 26-Cory Eliason [4]; 24. 49-Brad Sweet [12]; 25. 9-James McFadden [14]; Lap Leaders: Logan Schuchart 1-17, Kyle Larson 18-25; KSE Hard Charger Award: 2-Carson Macedo[+20]

Kyle Larson wins Knoxville
Kyle Larson celebrated with his family and team after the first night of The One and Only (Trent Gower/World of Outlaws).