Brad Keselowski muscles past Denny Hamlin for Brickyard 400 win

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Brad Keselowski used fresher tires and a power move to get past Denny Hamlin and win the rain-delayed Brickyard 400 Monday.

Keselowski was in third on the race’s final restart and moved to second as Clint Bowyer spun the tires with three laps to go. Keselowski got to Hamlin’s bumper with two laps to go and the two made contact twice on the penultimate lap of the race.

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It’s Keselowski’s second-straight win of 2018 and the first Brickyard 400 win for team owner Roger Penske. Penske driver Will Power won the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May. Power’s win was Penske’s 17th as an owner in the Indy 500. But Penske had never gotten a Brickyard win until Monday.

Strategy worked out in Keselowski’s favor. He stayed out as long as possible in the final stage and was on pit road when a caution came out for debris on the track. The strategy put him in the top 10 for the restart and he had moved up to third before a massive wreck between Jeffrey Earnhardt and Landon Cassill set up the last restart.

Keselowski won last week at Darlington after a fast pit stop put him out front for the race’s final restart. Kyle Larson, the driver who had dominated the race, couldn’t catch him over the last 15 laps.

Hamlin had the race won until the late crash

Hamlin has every right to be frustrated with the bizarre crash between Earnhardt and Cassill. Earnhardt tried to pass Cassill for a position outside the top 25 in an odd spot in turn 3 and the two hit the wall violently.

Hamlin was free and clear of Clint Bowyer at the time after a perfect restart following the debris caution. Bowyer and Jamie McMurray had made contact while racing for second just after that restart and their bobbles allowed Hamlin to sprint away.

He ended up finishing third after Erik Jones passed him on the last lap.

No playoff drama

The Brickyard was the final race of NASCAR’s 26-race regular season. The playoff race had little drama on Sunday and no driver that was in the playoff field entering the race dropped out. Alex Bowman occupied the 16th and final playoff spot before Saturday and was involved in a crash with AJ Allmendinger. But with no surprise winner — McMurray was the closest driver to making it happen and even he didn’t come that close — Bowman safely made it into the 16-driver field.

Playoff point standings

1. Kyle Busch, 2,050 points
2. Kevin Harvick, 2,050
3. Martin Truex Jr., 2,035
4. Brad Keselowski, 2,019
5. Clint Bowyer, 2,015
6. Joey Logano, 2,014
7. Kurt Busch, 2,014
8. Chase Elliott, 2,008
9. Ryan Blaney, 2,007
10. Erik Jones, 2,005
11. Austin Dillon, 2,005
12. Kyle Larson, 2,005
13. Denny Hamlin, 2,003
14. Aric Almirola, 2,001
15. Jimmie Johnson, 2,000
16. Alex Bowman, 2,000

Race results

1. Brad Keselowski
2. Erik Jones
3. Denny Hamlin
4. Kevin Harvick
5. Clint Bowyer
6. Kurt Busch
7. Jamie McMurray
8. Kyle Busch
9. Paul Menard
10. Ryan Newman
11. Ryan Blaney
12. Matt Kenseth
13. Joey Logano
14. Kyle Larson
15. Chase Elliott
16. Jimmie Johnson
17. Michael McDowell
18. Daniel Suarez
19. William Byron
20. Regan Smith
21. Ty Dillon
22. Austin Dillon
23. Aric Almirola
24. David Ragan
25. Chris Buescher
26. Ross Chastain
27. Corey LaJoie
28. Reed Sorenson
29. JJ Yeley
30. BJ McLeod
31. Landon Cassill
32. Jeffrey Earnhardt
33. Alex Bowman
34. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
35. Timmy Hill
36. Matt DiBenedetto
37. AJ Allmendinger
38. Bubba Wallace
39. David Starr
40. Martin Truex Jr.


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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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