Brad Keselowski turns dominating performance into win at Las Vegas

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Brad Keselowski dominated the Boyd Gaming 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday, leading 144 laps of the 200-lap race en route to his first-career Nationwide win at LVMS.

“It was just our day,” Keselowski said. “It was meant to be.”

Las Vegas native Kyle Busch led 33 laps on his way to a second-place finish. Kyle Larson was third, Dale Earnhardt Jr. fourth, and Chase Elliott was the highest-finishing Nationwide Series championship-eligible driver in fifth.

“It was a lot of fun,” Elliott said. “Biggest thing for us, it gives us a mindset that we can run up front.”

Keselowski took the lead from pole sitter Ty Dillon on lap seven as Busch worked his way up toward the front after starting the race in the back. Busch qualified in the top-10 but started in the back after his crew had to change the alternator belt on his car during the impound period after qualifying.

Busch made his way toward the front quickly, climbing into the top-10 on lap 12 and moving into the top-five by lap 36. He was second on a restart following the first caution of the race that came out on lap 56.

Busch’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Matt Kenseth, took the lead from Keselowski on the restart after the lap 56 caution, and with Busch in second, Keselowski was shuffled back to third. The teammates continued to run first and second until Keselowski retook the lead soon after a restart following a lap-70 caution. Kenseth lost a few more positions, while Busch maintained second.

Keselowski continued to lead until Busch took the position during a cycle of green-flag pit stops that started around lap 114. The two drivers ran first and second until Keselowski slid through his pit stall during a caution on lap 148 and restarted the race from the fifth position.

Kenseth then joined Buach up front. With 42 laps to go, Kenseth spun while racing Busch for the lead and brought out another caution. By that time, Keselowski had moved back up to third and assumed the second position after the Kenseth spin. When the race went back to green, Keselowski retook the lead.

“I don’t know what caused us to lose the lead,” Busch said. “That was unfortunate. That cost us the race.”

Keselowski held the lead for the rest of the race, despite reporting a broken alternator with about 40 laps to go.

“We found every way we could to make it hard,” Keselowski said. “These races aren’t getting easier to win. I drove as hard as I could every lap.”

Kenseth wound up sixth, Brian Scott finished seventh, Trevor Bayne was eighth, Chris Buescher ninth and Regan Smith was 10th. Dillon wound up a lap down in 11th after two pit road speeding penalties.

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Check out this photo gallery of images from Saturday’s race (photos courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR):

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