Brad Keselowski passes Kyle Busch on final lap to win NNS race at PIR

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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).”

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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.

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“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).