Brad Keselowski won the crown jewel, Coca-Cola 600, last night for the first time in his career while capturing Ford’s 690th all-time win in NASCAR Cup Series competition. The win also marked the Ford Mustang’s fourth win of the season in seven starts.
“Congratulations to Roger, Brad, Jeremy, and the No. 2 crew,” said Doug Yates, President and CEO of Roush Yates Engines. “Brad and the team made a last-minute strategy call and it paid off big time. It was a long night, but our teams continued to make adjustments in order to be in position to win at the end. We are blessed to live in this country and honor all the brave men and women that are no longer with us.”
Keselowski started in the back of the field and gradually worked his way up to the front at Charlotte Motor Speedway, in a battle with Chase Elliott at the end. A late race caution came out causing the race to go into overtime. Keselowski and crew chief, Jeremy Bullins chose to gamble and stay out on older tires, as Elliott elected to pit for fresh tires. On lap 404, Keselowski lined up in front of Alex Bowman on the inside line, next to veteran Jimmy Johnson and led eight cars that stayed out on older tires. With a great push, Keselowski was able to get out front, in the clean air to surge ahead of Johnson and take the checked flag by .293 seconds.
“It means a lot to me, but I can’t help but think about the Reep family and Donovan,"
Keselowski commented in a post-race interview. “I know the race ran really late, but Memorial Day is about a lot more than racing, but we’re glad to be able to do cool things like racing because of the freedom provided by those willing to make the sacrifices.
It’s the Coke 600 and this leaves only one major left for me, the Daytona 500, so we’re checking them off. I know they’re really happy because Miller Lite goes with Memorial Day, but I’m happy for Ford and everybody who just works their butt off at Team Penske. The pit crew at the end, the yellow right before the last lap, had a blazing stop to get us up front and put us in position. All these things just came together, and I’m tickled to death. It’s a little overwhelming to be honest.”
Over the course of the stretched out 607.5 mile race, the Ford Mustangs led 54 out of the 405-laps, led by Stage 3 winner Joey Logano with 26 laps, followed by Team Penske teammate Keselowski with 21, Matt DiBenedetto of Wood Brother’s Racing led six, and John Hunter Nemechek from Front Row Motorsports with one.
Ford Performance finished with four Ford Mustangs in the top-10: Keselowski (P1), Ryan Blaney (P3), current driver points leader, Kevin Harvick (P5), and Chris Buescher in (P10). To those that have served and made the ultimate sacrifice for our great country, God Bless and Thank you. In remembrance of Memorial Day, SSGT Donovan Reep, was honored on Keselowski’s No. 2 Ford Mustang, in addition all NASCAR Cup teams honored a service member.
NASCAR returns to Charlotte tonight with the Xfinity race and on Wednesday, May 27th for the Alsco Uniforms 500 Cup race. Reference the full 2020 schedule on Roushyates.com.