Brad Keselowski never left the top-10 in Sunday’s NASCAR Throwback race at Darlington and finished fourth after earning solid stage points in each of the first two stages.
“I felt like at the end it turned into a wreck fest and we got tore up and salvaged what we could salvage,” Keselowski said after the race. “Ultimately, we were a fifth or sixth-place car all day and ended up fourth. It was a real solid day. I felt like the whole team did a great job.”
The Castrol GTX Ford Mustang was at or near the front of the pack all weekend, as Keselowski put the No. 6 top of the charts in his group’s session of qualifying on Saturday. He ultimately started 10th after earning a Darlington stripe in his pole-attempt lap, but maintained his position on the grid after slight cosmetic repairs prior to Sunday’s race.
From the start, Keselowski inched his way forward, advancing to sixth by lap 90 to end the opening stage, earning early stage points. A fast pit stop under the stage break – one of many throughout the day – put the No. 6 third on the ensuing restart.
Stage two ran uninterrupted with a green-flag pit cycle separating it. Crew chief Matt McCall called Keselowski to pit road at lap 137 for service, and from there he used the long run to his advantage, driving to fifth by the end of stage two, earning more stage points in fifth.
Chaos ensued in stage three as Keselowski rolled sixth at lap 193. A pair of quick yellows were displayed in the opening 15 laps with the No. 6 maintaining sixth place. The longest green-flag run of the stage came on a restart with 78 to go and Keselowski in fifth, which ran interrupted until a pit cycle under green began with 50 laps remaining.
Then, a string of three cautions dominated the final 18 laps as Keselowski still ran sixth at the time of the first, and restarted seventh with 13 to go. An immediate caution flew for a multi-car incident on the high side, with the No. 6 sustaining front and right-side damage, but Keselowski was able to drive through to maintain his position of fifth.
In what looked to be the final restart with six to go, another quick yellow was displayed, this time with Keselowski taking advantage through it to fourth. That initiated a NASCAR Overtime restart with Keselowski restarting on the second row, ultimately going on to finish in fourth for his sixth top-10 and third top five of the season.
NASCAR All-Star weekend is on tap next week at historic North Wilkesboro Speedway. The All-Star Race is set for 8 p.m. ET Sunday night with TV coverage on FS1, and radio coverage across MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
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