LONG POND, Pa. – Brad Keselowski used a last-lap pass to put Team Penske’s No. 22 team back in victory lane in the NASCAR XFINITY Series on Saturday at Pocono Raceway.
The victory, the first for Penske’s No. 22 Ford since 2015, didn’t come easy. Keselowski had the dominant car and won the first two stages of the race, but fell behind after a late-race restart and had to work his way back to the front of the field.
Keselowski made what was his final pit stop under green flag conditions with just less than 40 laps left. The lead cycled through to Justin Allgaier, who stayed out in the hopes of catching a caution flag. The caution flag he was hoping for came with 22 laps left when Brandon Jones blew a tire and crashed on the frontstretch.
Allgaier led a large portion of the field down pit road, which allowed Cole Custer and Keselowski to inherit the top-two positions. When the race resumed with 16 laps left Keselowski got a big push from third-place Elliott Sadler, allowing him to pull into the lead, but only for a brief moment.
The push by Sadler to Keselowski was actually too good, as he stayed glued to Keselowski’s bumper all the way into turn one. That push shot Keselowski up the track and out of the groove, allowing Sadler to take the lead as Keselowski fell through the field outside the top-10.
While Keselowski was attempting to recover, Kyle Larson saw an opening to strike. Larson, who had moved up to second when Keselowski fell through the field, moved below Sadler between turns two and three to take the race lead.
Larson stretched his lead out to a bit more than a second, but behind him two cars were quickly closing the gap. The first was Allgaier, who had fresh tires and was quickly climbing through the field after restarting 11th. The second was Keselowski, who was storming back up through the pack after the near disaster on the restart.
With 10 laps left Allgaier and Keselowski were third and fourth, with only Sadler separating them from Larson. Within a few laps they both dispatched Sadler and set their sights on Larson.
With only five laps left Allgaier and Keselowski caught Larson and began looking for a way around him. Keselowski made a big move out of turn one down the Long Pond Straightaway towards turn two to take second from Allgaier, moving him into position to challenge Larson.
Keselowski stayed tucked in behind Larson for the next few laps and took the white flag right behind Larson. Coming out of turn one Keselowski made his move, downshifting through the corner to build momentum out of the corner.