Brad Keselowski uses last-lap pass of Kyle Larson to win first Xfinty race since November 2015

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Brad Keselowksi came back from the 13th position and used a last-lap pass of Kyle Larson to win the Pocono Green 250.

The win is the first in a Xfinity race for Keselowski and Team Penske’s No. 22 program since November 2015 at Texas Motor Speedway, ending a 46-race winless streak for the team.

Keselowski had dropped out of the top 10 after restarting first with 16 to go. Keselowski was forced out of the groove by Elliott  Sadler in Turn 1, which caused the No. 22 to drop quickly. Larson then took the lead from Sadler in Turn 2.

“Elliott gave me a good push to clear (Cole Custer), but he carried it all the way into Turn 1,” Keselowski told Fox Sports. “I got down there and my rear tires were off the ground and I tried not back it into the wall. From there, it was never give up.”

On older tires after having stayed out during the previous caution, Keselowski was able to march his way back to the front, finally passing Larson down the backstretch leading to Turn 2 on the final lap of the 100-lap race.

“Drove by a bunch of cars and just pushed it as hard as I could,” Keselowski said. “Looked like Kyle (Larson’s) car was struggling just a little bit. He was getting tight in the middle, loose off. He was doing a really good job of holding me low so I couldn’t get any runs. Then on the last lap I got right to his bumper and got him loose. We tried to do the side draft thing on the backstretch, all the way down to the apron. That had to look really cool. I can’t wait to see the replay … Hell of a race. I’m really happy for the 22 team. It’s been awhile.”

Keselowski beat out Justin Allgaier and Larson in the closing laps.

The top five was completed by Elliott Sadler and Daniel Suarez.

Stage 1 winner: Keselowski

Stage 2 winner: Keselowski

MORE: Allgaier takes points lead.

MORE: Race results

WHO HAD A GOOD DAY: Allgaier led 13 laps to increase his series-leading total among Xfinity regulars to 286. Allgaier also took the points lead for the first time this year … Sadler’s finish gives him five top fives through 12 races … Brendan Gaughan finished sixth for his best finish since placing fifth at Daytona … Kyle Benjamin started from his first career pole and led 28 laps before pit strategy and bad restarts led him to finish 16th.

WHO HAD A BAD DAY: Paul Menard wrecked on the final lap of Stage 2 when he lost a tire in Turn 2 and hit the inside wall. He finished 31st, three laps down …. Darrell Wallace Jr. was caught speeding during the second stage break. He finished 11th in potentially his last Xfinity Series race of the year with Roush Fenway Racing … Brandon Jones wrecked with 22 to go on the frontstretch after losing a tire and set up the final restart. He finished 36th for his fourth DNF of the year and his third in four races.

NOTABLE: Since the No. 22 team’s last win in November 2015, Team Penske’s part-time operation in the No. 12 car had won four times.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Really happy for the 22 team. It’s been a while. I think it’s been well documented that they haven’t been in victory lane. Discount Tire has been a part of this program for a long time. They deserve it. Without them I probably wouldn’t have a career in NASCAR.” – Brad Keselowski after winning the Pocono Green 250.

WHAT’S NEXT: Menards 250 Presented by Valvoline at Michigan International Speedway at 1:30 p.m. ET on June 17 on Fox Sports 1.

Check out Southern 500 paint schemes for Erik Jones, David Ragan and Landon Cassill

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Monday saw the reveal of three paint schemes for the Sept. 3 Southern 500 (on NBCSN). Here’s a look at the cars for Furniture Row Racing’s Erik Jones and Front Row Motorsports’ David Ragan and Landon Cassill.

Jones, who is in contention for the Rookie of the Year award in the Cup Series, will honor previous winners of the award with his paint scheme. Specifically, the No. 77 Toyota will pay tribute to the Rookie of the Year recipients from 1984-89.

The scheme will feature pictures of Rusty Wallace (1984), Ken Schrader (1985), Alan Kulwicki (1986), Davey Allision (1987), Ken Bouchard (1988) and Dick Trickle (1989).

Ragan’s No. 38 Ford will be sponsored by Good Sam. Ragan’s paint scheme is an ode to the RV company’s early days. It was founded in 1966.

Cassill’s paint scheme probably looks familiar. It’s the same one the team used for the last Southern 500 when Chris Buescher drove the N0. 34. The team had to call an audible after Michael McDowell and Leavine Family Racing beat them to the punch on a Kulwicki tribute scheme. Fortunately, Cassill was cool with it.

MORE: Retro Rundown of 2017 Southern 500 paint schemes.

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Bump & Run: Taking stock of the NASCAR season

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What has surprised you the most about this season?

Jeff Burton: My biggest surprise is that there really hasn’t been a flaw in the new stage racing format. I believed that something would happen that revealed a flaw that no one had anticipated but we have yet to see it.

Nate Ryan: Martin Truex Jr.’s emergence as the championship favorite. It was expected he would run well and be a playoff contender and winner, but Furniture Row Racing regularly outrunning Joe Gibbs Racing as the best-in-class Toyota team has been a surprise – as has Truex’s runaway lead in the playoff points standings. He and crew chief Cole Pearn have become the crew chief-driver combination that is setting the pace in every way possible, whether it’s lap speeds, setup decisions or strategy calls.

Dustin Long: That there have been 14 different Cup winners (13 eligible for the playoffs) at this point in the season, which is already the most number of winners in an entire Cup season since 2013.

What driver has impressed you the most this season?

Jeff Burton: Martin Truex Jr. Speed and consistency is hard to achieve. He has been the guy that seems to be in the battle every single week. 

Nate Ryan: William Byron. His promotion to the Cup Series is well deserved, because he has proven the past two years to be an absolute prodigy with his acclimation to Xfinity and trucks. It makes one wonder if he already would have been a Cup winner if he had started his racing career in earnest before becoming a teenager.

Dustin Long: I’m amazed what William Byron has done for his relative lack of experience compared to drivers who started before they hit first grade. His ability to handle pressure situations has been noteworthy. While the challenges will increase next year, I’m already interested to see how he will do in Cup.

What storyline most intrigues you for the coming weeks?

Jeff Burton: I’m intrigued about the playoffs. There will be a big time driver and team that doesn’t advance into the playoffs. Watching who can take control and who can’t step up will be very interesting to witness.

Nate Ryan: The impact of playoff points on the championship race and how it affects who advances in each round. The suspicion here is that there will be much second-guessing and re-examination of decisions made during the regular season that had unanticipated repercussions months later.

Dustin Long: I’m intrigued to see if Kyle Busch and his team can finally eliminate the mistakes that have plagued them throughout the season and prevented Busch from possibly an epic season. With two wins in the last four races, he’s on the verge of a breakout that will lead to a dominating title run. Will it happen?

SunnyD extends sponsorship deal with Roush Fenway Racing

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SunnyD has extended its contract with Roush Fenway Racing to sponsor Ricky Stenhouse Jr.‘s team through the 2019 season, the organization announced Tuesday.

SunnyD will add races as primary sponsor each season, although how many was not announced.

The company has been the primary sponsor of Stenhouse’s car in three races this season – Atlanta, spring Bristol and Indianapolis. SunnyD will next sponsor Stenhouse in October at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“We’ve had a great time partnering with SunnyD the last two years,” Stenhouse in a statement from the team. “It’s one of the coolest paint schemes on the track, and we’ve had a lot of fun promoting their classic brand. I’m excited that we have extended our relationship, and I can’t wait to see how much fun we can have with SunnyD in victory lane.”

“We are very excited to announce that we tore up the old contract and signed a new one that extends for another season and adds additional races with Ricky and Roush Fenway,” said Henk Hartong, Chairman of Harvest Hill Beverage Company, owners of the SunnyD brand, in a statement. “I’m very proud of our relationship with Jack Roush, Steve Newmark and the entire Roush Fenway team. It is something that we wanted to lock in for the foreseeable future. Ricky is one of the rising young stars in NASCAR and we have seen great response to the program from the passionate NASCAR fans.  We are pleased to bolster our association with him and Roush Fenway.”

Stenhouse has two wins this year and will be in next month’s playoffs.

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Martin Truex Jr. continues to dominate NASCAR Cup playoff grid

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Martin Truex Jr. continues to dominate the weekly NASCAR Cup playoff standings.

Truex did not gain any extra points during Saturday night’s Bristol Night Race, so he remains with 35 points, but that’s still a large spread over those chasing him.

Bristol winner Kyle Busch jumped from fifth to second place in the standings with 20 playoff points.

Kyle Larson fell back to third place (18 points), Jimmie Johnson fell to fourth (16) and Brad Keselowski is fifth (14).

As for the playoff bubble, Chase Elliott is 69 points ahead of the cut-off line, followed by Matt Kenseth (+61) and Jamie McMurray (+58) with two races left until the playoffs.

Outside the playoff cut line is Clint Bowyer, who dropped from 31 to 58 points down and Joey Logano from -98 to -117. Erik Jones climbed from -130 to -127, and Daniel Suarez dropped from -139 to -163.

 

Here’s this week’s playoff standings grid: