Brad Keselowski passed Kyle Busch late in the Kobalt 400 to take home his first win of the young season on Sunday in Las Vegas. Keselowski not only battled other drivers, but he also battled some wacky weather, which included rain, wind, and even a sandstorm.
Kurt Busch leads early
There was a short delay in starting the race due to a rain shower, but when it got going, pole sitter Kurt Busch jumped out to the lead, even despite picking up a piece of debris. He led all the way until the competition caution came out on Lap 30.
Denny Hamlin won the race off pit road, with Busch second, but he would be forced to go to the back for the restart after he was caught speeding on pit road. Clint Bowyer also received a penalty, for an uncontrolled tire.
Hamlin led the field back to green on Lap 36, but didn’t hold the lead for very long, as Joey Logano passed him. Hamlin then struggled, as he quickly dropped back to 12th position after only taking two tires on his pit stop, while everybody else took four tires.
Logano opens up a huge lead
Logano, meanwhile, opened up a huge lead of his own, as at one time, he had a two second lead over Brad Keselowski, who was in second place. Logano held the lead until green flag pit stops, which began around Lap 82. When they cycled through, Keselowski was the new leader, his first time leading the race.
The second caution of the race came out on Lap 98 for debris on the front stretch. The caution allowed some teams to make another pit stop, which approximately half of the field did.
The strategy was varied, as some teams took just two tires, while most teams took four tires. Jimmie Johnson won the race off pit road, thanks to a two tire stop, and he led the field back to the green flag.
Johnson got a great restart, as he roared out to the lead, with Logano and Kevin Harvick trying to chase him down. Logano did have the lead for a short time, but Johnson quickly regained it.
Logano did finally get the lead on Lap 151 when Johnson made a green flag pit stop. Logano came in a lap later. When everybody had stopped, Johnson found himself back in the lead.
The third caution came out on Lap 177 for debris reported in Turn one. This came after a bunch of drivers complained that there was fluid in Turn two, although NASCAR investigated that, and determined that there was no fluid.
Drivers took advantage of the caution to make pit stops, and Logano won the race off pit road, with Harvick and Keselowski in a very close battle for the second position coming off pit road. Unfortunately, Keselowski did not get to keep his spot, as he was penalized for speeding, which sent him to the back of the field for the restart.
The race returned to green on Lap 186 with Logano in the lead for the sixth time. Busch was the big winner on the restart, as he restarted in ninth, but within two laps was in the top five.
The race was not green for very long, as on Lap 198, the yellow returned, this time for Kyle Larson, who hit the wall. This provided the leaders another chance to pit, and Matt Kenseth won the race off pit road.
Kenseth and Johnson battle for the lead
The restart was delayed slightly due to a dust storm that made visibility on the track very difficult. When they did get back going, Kenseth was the leader, with Johnson restarting in the second position. Kenseth held the lead for a little bit, but Johnson retook it with 56 laps to go.
The caution came again with 52 Laps to go when Regan Smith and Larson crashed in Turn 4. This was used by most of the field as another chance to pit, with Johnson winning the race off pit road. All of the teams that did pit only took two
The field went back to green with 45 to go, with Logano in the lead after him, Keselowski, and Austin Dillon did not pit. Kyle Busch quickly took the lead on the restart with a nice pass of Logano. On the second lap after the restart, there was a crash in Turn one, which brought out the sixth caution of the race.
Keselowski passes Busch for the win
The race restarted with 35 to go, and Ky. Busch got a great restart to maintain the lead over Logano and Keselowski. He was unable to hold on, however, as Keselowski passed him with just five laps to go and cruised to his first victory of the season.
The next race for the Sprint Cup Series is next weekend at Phoenix Raceway.