In the final laps, worry filled Brad Keselowski’s voice as an alternator stopped charging the battery. He wondered whether he would be able to last the final 20 laps to take home the victory. It seemed he started to lose some speed as the lap ticker kept counting down as Busch closed the gap.
All worries aside, the battery would last and Keselowski kept his No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang in front of Kyle Busch through the lap traffic to take the victory in the Boyd Gaming 300. It marks his 28th Nationwide Series victory and first at Las Vegas.
“We found every way we could to make it hard, but the Discount Tire team did a great job toda,” Keselowski commented. “I didn’t feel good about it in practice but man, once they dropped the green flag, it was fast. Kyle was coming there espically at the end. It was laying down there but I kept going. I knew it was a matter of time till he caught me but I tried to work my way through traffic to keep the distance.
“We had to never give up. It’s just a classic 22 team day.”
As the leader, Kyle Busch chose to start on the outside on a restart with 38 to go rather than the inside. The decision didn’t pay off as Keselowski was able to grab the lead and pull ahead. From there, Keselowski held Busch and the rest of the field off in the ensuing restarts and run to the checkered flag.
Once again, Kyle Busch would fall short at his home track as he finished second. Busch had to fight adversity today, though, as he started at the rear of the field in his back-up car after making unapproved adjustments following qualifying. Busch has come close over the years at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, however it is one of the tracks that has eluded him in the Nationwide Series.
“I don’t know what caused us to lose the lead – that was unfortunate,” Busch commented. “Our car was fastest on the long run as you could see it. best motor won today…probably best car too. he had a pretty good car today. That’s all we had.”
In the battle of the 22 from Team Penske and the 54 from Joe Gibbs Racing, the pair are now tied in the owner’s standings following the third race of the season.
Kyle Larson would come back to finish third after early contact with the wall, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Rookie Chase Elliott stayed inside the top 10 solidly all day – despite running out fuel as he came to pit road early – finishing fifth for his first Nationwide Series top five in his third career start.
“It was a lot of fun,” Elliott commented. “I think the biggest thing for us is it gives us the mindset that we can run up front. I knew these cars were capable – it was just up to me and the guys. We unloaded fast and had a great weekend. I’m excited to head to Bristol.”
Elliott’s car owner Earnhardt Jr. said after the race that he feels Elliott is a real smart driver.
“He’s better than he knows he is; he’s a lot better than other rookies that come into this series,” Earnhardt added. “He’s has that intuition and I think that’s helped him along. He’s got a ton of talent and he’s going to go a long ways. He has a great mentor in his father as that’s made a difference in his life.”
Matt Kenseth would come back to finish sixth after going for a spin while battling for the lead with 40 laps to go with Busch. Brian Scott finished seventh, followed by Trevor Bayne, rookie Chris Buescher and Regan Smith.
Smith coasted home after making contact with the outside wall with three to go; he was the last driver to finish on the lead lap. Many drivers got caught a lap down after a caution came out during green-flag pit stops early in the race. Smith heads into next week’s race with a three point lead over Bayne.
Pole sitter Ty Dillon would finish 11th, the first car two laps down, after getting bit by a pit road speeding penalty twice on pit road.
Hometown driver Dylan Kwasniewski didn’t have the weekend that he was looking for as he had to start the race in a back-up car following an incident in practice. Kwasniewski would then get into the wall during the race, resulting in a 24th place finish.
Following the race, NASCAR announced that the No. 9 of Chase Elliott was too low in the left front, while also taking the right rear shock from No. 22 of Keselowski. Both issues to be handled early next week with regards to penalties.