LONG POND, Pa. — Brad Keselowski ran down rookie polesitter Kyle Benjamin to win the opening stage of Saturday’s Pocono Green 250 at Pocono Raceway.
After qualifying eighth and having to come through the field, Keselowski caught Benjamin in traffic and made the pass to the inside of the ‘Tunnel Turn’ on lap 22, powering away to take the green-checkered flag by 1.589 seconds.
The stage ran caution-free from start to finish with no interruptions.
Benjamin led the first 21 laps of the 25-lap segment, finishing second to Keselowski at the stage break and best among the NASCAR XFINITY Series regulars in just his second-ever series start.
“We’ve got a pretty fast Hisense Toyota right now,” Benjamin said following pit stops. “For me, it’s about logging laps and getting experience. I’m pretty confident that we have a car that can stay up front and win this race today.”
Defending Pocono winner Kyle Larson was third, just ahead of fellow Cup regulars Paul Menard and Daniel Suarez.
The stage one results were a stark turnaround for the interlopers, who could not crack the top five in qualifying earlier in the day but rallied to take four of the front five spots at the stage break.
Justin Allgaier, William Byron, Daniel Hemric, Ty Dillon and Brennan Poole completed the top 10.
Cole Custer pitted from 10th just before the pits closed with two laps to go in the stage, using strategy to assume the top spot ahead of the beginning of Stage 2.
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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