WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Brad Keselowski inherited the win in the opening stage of Saturday’s Zippo 200 at the Glen after stage-long leader Kyle Busch wheel-hopped and spun on entry to Turn 1 with four to go.
Busch, who took the lead from pole winner Joey Logano through the Esses on the opening circuit, led the first 16 laps of the race before the mistake that saw him rejoin the field in fourth behind Paul Menard.
That mistake allowed Keselowski to pounce, and he ultimately claimed his seventh stage win of the season under caution after J.J. Yeley blew his motor and stalled in the final corner to bring out the caution flag for the second time in the first 20 laps.
The only other slowdown of the stage was caused by a spinning Spencer Gallagher on lap five, which set up a restart on the eighth circuit.
Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Logano followed him to the green-checkered flag in second, followed by Busch, who picked up one position when Menard pitted just before the caution flag.
“When we fired off at the start there, they were able to keep up with me because (the car) lacked lateral rear (grip). As the tire temps came up, the tire pressures came in … and then I just wheel-hopped,” Busch said of his spin.
Erik Jones finished fourth in the first stage, followed by Justin Allgaier, who was the highest series regular in fifth.
“These guys have done a great job,” Allgaier said of his crew. “It’s unique for us to go to a road course and we only get a couple of them a year, so it’s on all of us to do our part. These guys have done theirs and now it’s just a matter of trying to run the fastest laps I can and keeping the fenders on it. The (Nos.) 22, 12 and 18 have all been fast. Hopefully we can keep working on it and get our Camaro to victory lane.”
Daniel Hemric, Cole Custer, Brennan Poole, Brendan Gaughan and Blake Koch completed the points-scoring drivers in the top 10 at the stage break.
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
The 23-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
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