Brad Keselowski won Sunday’s Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in overtime, outrunning Kyle Larson and Martin Truex Jr. to earn his third victory in a row.
The top five was completed by Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney.
The win in the Cup playoff opener is Team Penske’s 500th in motorsports. With Logano and Blaney, it is the first time Penske has had three cars finish in the top five in Cup.
“500 wins today, huge day for the Captain (Roger Penske),” Keselowski told NBCSN. “I did it, boss! To start off the playoffs with a win, that’s really strong. … It’s really a testament to this team here. They’ve been so strong on pit road and I couldn’t have done it without them. We weren’t as fast as the 78 car (Truex), but we nailed the pit stops and restarts when it counted.”
Keselowski had never won three consecutive races before Sunday.
The overtime finish was set up by a wreck involving Kurt Busch, Michael McDowell and David Ragan coming to two laps to go in the scheduled distance. The incident resulted in a red flag before the race resumed.
That wreck caused the 12th and final caution of the race. More than half of the 16-driver playoff field ran into problems throughout the race.
Keselowski led 75 of 272 laps on his way to the win, which is the 27th of his career. The victory follows wins in the Southern 500 and Brickyard 400.
Keselowski also snaps a 13-race win streak by the “Big 3” of Truex, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick on 1.5-mile tracks.
STAGE 1 WINNER: Martin Truex Jr.
STAGE 2 WINNER: Brad Keselowski
MORE: race results
MORE: Point standings
WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: No. 1 seed Kyle Busch managed to finish seventh after he spun with 35 laps to go and slid through the front stretch grass … Kyle Larson bounced back from a flat tire in the first stage to earn his sixth runner-up finish of the year … Ryan Blaney earned his first top five in four races … Regan Smith led 10 laps (his most in a season since 2011) and finished 12th, giving Leavine Family Racing its best finish since Kasey Kahne placed fourth in the July Daytona race.
WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Kevin Harvick and Erik Jones wrecked out on Lap 148 after Harvick lost his right-front tire and hit the wall. Harvick placed 39th and Jones finished last … Jamie McMurray wrecked with 55 laps to go and collected Chase Elliott. McMurray finished 35th and Elliott placed 36th. … Denny Hamlin wrecked out of Turn 4 with 21 laps to go. He placed 32nd.
NOTABLE: Brad Keselowski is the third driver to earn three consecutive wins this season (Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch). First time in NASCAR’s modern era that three drivers have achieved that feat in a season … Every driver who finished fifth through 18th finished better than their average running position.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Brad clearly found a horseshoe. Three races in a row he’s won and he has not had the best car..” – Martin Truex Jr.
WHAT’S NEXT: Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway at 7:30 p.m. ET on Sept. 22 on NBCSN.
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