BROOKLYN, Mich. — After contact with rival and polesitter Kyle Busch on the initial start, Brad Keselowski led the first 30 laps of the Irish Hills 250 at Michigan Int’l Speedway for his third-straight NASCAR XFINITY Series stage win.
Keselowski picked up right where he left off one week ago in Pocono, Pa., leading the field again after he broke a 46-race winless drought for the No. 22 Team Penske squad.
Busch leapt out to clear Keselowski from the outside when the green flag flew to begin the race, but in swerving out front to block Keselowski’s advances, the No. 18 Toyota came back into the nose of the No. 22 Ford, sending Busch hard into the outside wall before he spun down into the infield grass.
After Busch hit pit road for repairs, Keselowski went unchallenged once racing resumed on lap six, driving out to a 1.725-second margin over Denny Hamlin by the time the green-checkered flag waved to signal the stage break.
“That (opening lap) wasn’t what anyone wanted to see, but there’s not much we can do about that,” Keselowski said of his scuffle with Busch. “As far as going forward, two (tires) versus four is going to be a big topic of discussion the rest of the day, so we’ll see what happens.”
The stage win was the sixth for the No. 22 Ford team so far this season.
Elliott Sadler was the highest-finishing XFINITY regular in third at the end of Stage 1, followed by Paul Menard and rookie William Byron.
Tyler Reddick, Spencer Gallagher, Ty Dillon, Cole Custer and points leader Justin Allgaier completed the top 10 and finished inside the points at the end of the opening stint.
Allgaier’s drive was especially impressive, after he started 22nd due to a mistake in qualifying earlier in the morning.
Busch rallied from the back of the field, passing 21 cars and crossing the line 19th after the opening lap, first corner incident with Keselowski.
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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.
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