NXS: Keselowski Cashes In; Scores 34th Career XFINITY Series Victory at Texas

Kyle Magda Featured, NASCAR, West 0 Comments

FORT WORTH, Tex. — Recap by Race Chaser Online Associate Editor Kyle Magda –Sarah Crabill/Getty Images North America photo —

Until 10 laps to go in Saturday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas, the lead wasn’t the place to be.

Austin Dillon, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Larson all took turns at the front, but none of them ended up in victory lane. One driver who led early did, as Brad Keselowski took the checkered flag in his No. 22 Discount Tire Ford.

Keselowski powered past Dillon and Harvick in a three-wide battle with 10 laps to go to win the race and lock up the third consecutive owner’s title for Roger Penske.

“Today was just one of those races, it just kept changing dimensions,” Keselowski said in the victory lane. “It felt like the start of the race the 33 was going to run away from it and then the 88 was blistering fast. The 54 was really good; he had troubles. The 88 looked really fast again and then the 42 came out of nowhere and took over the lead, then he had issues. It was just kind of a funky race to be a part with everyone coming and going, but we just stayed right there running second or third the whole race.”

“At the end of the race, we were able to get up to the front and Austin Dillon did a great job at the end. We had a heck of a battle for the win and that was a lot of fun and he’s a heck of a racer too, so I enjoyed racing with him. It feels great to get the Discount Tire Ford in victory lane. I know Roger really wants the owner’s championship for this series. This is a big step and we’re really proud of it as well.”

Dillon and Keselowski started on the front row after persistent weepers in the track forced NASCAR to cancel XFINITY Series qualifying and line up the field by practice speeds. The No. 22 Ford led the first nine laps before Dillon drove away from the field. Keselowski’s early laps led were the first for the No. 22 team since Ryan Blaney’s victory at Kentucky in September.

Before the competition caution flew on lap 25, Kevin Harvick appeared to have a fast car on the longer runs, pulling within a few car lengths of the 33. Harvick regained the top spot when leader Kyle Larson’s left-rear tire went down, ending any chances of breaking a 30-race winless streak. The debris from the deflated tire brought out the race’s final caution as the leaders made pit stops for the final stretch. By virtue of the first pit stall, Dillon nipped Keselowski to win the race off pit road and re-take the lead for the first time since lap 54.

Kyle Busch ran the last 120 laps in fourth gear after his shifter broke trying to get out of the pits during the race’s second caution. He and Harvick had to fight their way back to the front, as the defending Cup champ reported a loose wheel on his No. 88 Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevrolet and came back down pit road to tighten the additional lug nuts.

April Texas winner Erik Jones and Ty Dillon completed the top-five. 11th-place finisher and points leader Chris Buescher leaves the Lone Star State with a 24-point lead over defending XFINITY champ Chase Elliott. Ty Dillon’s fifth-place run moved him up a spot in the standings to third, now 30 markers behind Buescher.

“If I’m wasting my time focusing on what he’s doing, I’m going to be in trouble,” T. Dillon said. “I was just trying to win the race and we do the best that we could do today and, with him finishing 11th, it was a good day for us, but it’s going to take that mistake and he’s doing the right thing right now and we just got to keep managing our own race and try to get into victory lane and get max points. I know as the weeks go on, he’s going to feel more pressure to make sure he doesn’t mess up and hopefully we’re there to capitalize.”

Regan Smith fell back to fourth in points, but is only one point behind the No. 3 car. A new fifth-place points man emerged in Elliott Sadler, getting past his Roush-Fenway Racing teammate Darrell Wallace Jr. to try to get on stage at the XFINITY-Truck Series banquet two weeks from Monday.

The series heads to Phoenix International Raceway for the DAV 200 next Saturday. Brad Keselowski is the defending winner of the race.

RESULTS: NASCAR XFINITY Series; O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge; Texas Motor Speedway; November 7, 2015:

  1. Brad Keselowski
  2. Kevin Harvick
  3. Austin Dillon
  4. Erik Jones
  5. Ty Dillon
  6. Daniel Suarez
  7. Brian Scott
  8. Chase Elliott
  9. Regan Smith
  10. Elliott Sadler
  11. Chris Buescher
  12. Brendan Gaughan
  13. Ryan Sieg
  14. Kyle Busch
  15. Ryan Reed
  16. Ross Chastain
  17. Jeremy Clements
  18. Dakoda Armstrong
  19. Darrell Wallace Jr.
  20. Ryan Truex
  21. Blake Koch
  22. Landon Cassill
  23. J.J. Yeley
  24. Mason Mingus
  25. David Starr
  26. Joey Gase
  27. Ray Black Jr.
  28. Eric McClure
  29. Martin Roy
  30. Derrike Cope
  31. Derek White
  32. Mike Harmon
  33. Kyle Larson
  34. Harrison Rhodes
  35. Morgan Shepherd
  36. Mike Bliss
  37. Josh Reaume
  38. T.J. Bell
  39. Mario Gosselin
  40. Jeff Green

 

 

 

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