Brad Keselowski gladly let Nationwide Series champion Chase Elliott take the big spotlight Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway.
But Keselowski should still be noted for a spectacular come-from-behind win in Saturday afternoon’s DAV 200 – Honoring America’s Veterans NNS race.
Just when it looked like Kyle Busch would win a race he had dominated, leading 187 of the final 206 laps, Keselowski got a great run on a final restart and slid past Busch on the final lap to take the checkered flag.
For a driver who has been accused of being self-centered for the way he races by several fellow drivers he’s had recent confrontations with, Keselowski was surprisingly cordial about beating Busch.
“That was kind of a shame,” Keselowski said of Busch. “He had the race won until the yellow came out. I can understand if he was upset about that.”
Busch may have spun his tires on the restart or may have missed a shift. Whatever the cause, Keselowski jumped at the chance that was presented him, got past Busch and sailed one last lap for the checkered flag.
In total, Keselowski led just nine laps, including the most important one.
“We didn’t give up,” Keselowski said. “Kyle was really fast, probably had a tenth (of a second) or two on everybody.
“That yellow came out and I don’t know what happened. It looks like we grabbed a gear or he slipped down. Either way, we were able to get to victory lane.”
The win was Keselowski’s fifth NNS triumph of the season and the 32nd of his career.
Busch finished second, followed by Elliott Sadler, Ty Dillon, championship-winning Elliott, Friday night Truck race winner Erik Jones, Brian Scott, Brendan Gaughan, Trevor Bayne and Regan Smith.
In a week that began with controversy at Texas, which has continued to haunt him into Phoenix, Keselowski expressed some relief at how Saturday’s race was free of conflict and angst.
“It feels good, really good,” Keselowski said. “It’s a little surreal. I didn’t know the race was over. It’s been a heck of a week and hopefully we can pull off something tomorrow (in the Sprint Cup race).”
Follow me @JerryBonkowski