Keselowski Wins Rain-Plagued Race at Phoenix

Brad Keselowski won the DC Solar 200 at ISM Raceway after leading 63 laps. It’s his 37th career XFINITY Series win and his second at Phoenix in his first XFINITY race of 2018. The race included four cautions and two red flags, both for rain. The red flags totaled about two hours.

Before the race Cole Custer’s team had to fix a jack bolt, which had broken in qualifying. That sent the Stewart-Haas Racing driver to the back of the field for unapproved adjustments. Allgaier led early on, trailed by Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch. On lap 11, Keselowski was able to clear Allgaier to take the lead. Allgaier would be able to hold second over Kyle Busch. On lap 27, David Starr had a catastrophic engine failure, ending his day. Only a couple drivers pitted under the yellow.

On the restart, Justin Allgaier was able to take the lead back from Brad Keselowski. Keselowski got up into Allgaier and fell back, bringing Kyle Busch into the fray. Busch, though, was unable to get to Allgaier, and actually fell to fourth behind teammate Christopher Bell and fellow Cup driver Brad Keselowski. Allgaier would win stage one. Then the rains came, beginning an hour-and-a-half-plus red flag.

Once the yellow flag came back out, the leaders pitted and Brad Keselowski passed Justin Allgaier on pit road. Unfortunately for Keselowski, he was speeding, sending him to the rear. Tyler Reddick, Ryan Reed, Alex Labbe, and Elliott Sadler all stayed out. Reddick, on old tires, led a couple laps before Kyle Busch took the lead away.

With only seven laps remaining in stage two, Matt Mills hit the wall, bringing out the yellow. Justin Allgaier, Christopher Bell, Brad Keselowski, Brandon Jones, Elliott Sadler, and a couple of others pitted, but leader Kyle Busch, Daniel Hemric, Cole Custer, and more stayed out. With just two laps remaining in the stage, NASCAR elected to throw the red flag. After the end of stage two, the race is official, but NASCAR didn’t let them get there.

The red flag lasted 25 minutes. In the one-lap shootout to end the stage, Kyle Busch took the lead easily, followed by Daniel Hemric. Under caution, those that didn’t pit on the previous caution came down, putting Justin Allgaier and Christopher Bell up front.

Allgaier easily beat Bell on the restart, and Tyler Reddick worked his way up to second. Reddick, though, wouldn’t stay up there for long, as Brad Keselowski and Christopher Bell found their way to second and third, respectively. With just under 60 laps to go, Brad Keselowski took the lead away from Justin Allgaier. About ten laps later, Christopher Bell passed Justin Allgaier for second. Bell took the lead from Keselowski with 36 laps to go.

The leaders pitted under green, and Keselowski just took away the position after the two exited pit road side-by-side. Allgaier took second away from Bell while navigating a lap car. With about 25 laps left, Keselowski passed the yet-to-pit Kaz Grala, who came down for fuel and tires about five laps after that. Keselowski easily took the win after that.

  1. Brad Keselowski (Cup)
  2. Justin Allgaier (Stage 1)
  3. Kyle Busch  (Stage 2) (Cup)
  4. Christopher Bell (Rookie)
  5. Jamie McMurray (Cup)
  6. Daniel Hemric
  7. Matt Tifft
  8. Cole Custer
  9. Elliott Sadler
  10. Tyler Reddick (Rookie)
  11. Brandon Jones
  12. Kaz Grala (Rookie)
  13. Ty Dillon (Cup)
  14. Spencer Gallagher
  15. Ryan Truex
  16. Austin Cindric (Rookie)
  17. Michael Annett
  18. Ryan Reed
  19. Ross Chastain
  20. Jeremy Clements
  21. JJ Yeley
  22. Alex Labbe (Rookie)
  23. Dylan Lupton
  24. Joey Gase
  25. Ryan Sieg
  26. BJ McLeod
  27. Tommy Joe Martins
  28. Garrett Smithley
  29. Josh Williams
  30. Spencer Boyd (Rookie)
  31. Stephen Leicht
  32. Josh Bilicki (Rookie)
  33. Vinnie Miller (Rookie)
  34. Timmy Hill
  35. Mike Harmon
  36. Chad Finchum (Rookie) (Engine)
  37. Morgan Shepherd (Brakes)
  38. Matt Mills (Rookie) (Accident)
  39. David Starr (Engine)
  40. Jeff Green (Brakes)

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