Brad Keselowski beat Alex Bowman by .205 seconds in a two-lap overtime shootout to win the Digital Ally 400 at Kansas Speedway on Saturday night.
The win was Keselowski’s third victory on the NASCAR Cup Series this year, tying him with Kyle Busch for the most wins on the season.
Keselowski Dedicates Win to Mittler
Bowman held the lead late in the race, with Keselowski only managing to take the lead with seven laps to go after passing the leader on the high side in Turns 3 and 4. The race then went four laps longer than scheduled after a caution flag flew with just four laps to go because of possible fluid coming out of Matt DiBenedetto’s car.
When the race restarted for the overtime shootout, Keselowski – riding on fresher tires because of a late pit stop on Lap 241 of the scheduled 267 – raced away from the pack and was never seriously challenged.
After the race, Keselowski dedicated the win to Mike Mittler, a longtime Truck Series driver whom Keselowski drove for earlier in his career. Mittler passed away on Friday night after a long battle with cancer.
“He helped a lot of guys in their career, and I was one of them,” Keselowski said after the race. “He passed away yesterday. It’s just a huge loss to the NASCAR community. He was one of those unsung heroes that works in the garage. He gave his whole life to this sport, and there’s so many of those guys and so many of those fans. It hurts to see those guys go away.”
Bowman Making A Habit of Second Place Finishes
For Bowman, losing the lead late was especially painful, as it led him to the runner-up position for the third straight race. That leaves Bowman still looking for his first career NASCAR Cup Series win despite a string of excellent results this season.
“Just made some bad calls there through lapped traffic and got tied off,” Bowman said after the race. “Wish we were standing here with three wins in a row, and things could have gone differently, and that could be the case, but we’ll keep digging next week.”
The race saw the end of Kyle Busch’s record-tying streak of 11 consecutive top-10 finishes to begin the season. While Busch was among the leaders for much of the race, he made contact with Clint Boywer’s car and cut a tire on Lap 245. That forced him onto pit road. Which Busch would finish the race, he came in three laps behind the leaders in 30th place.
Erik Jones, Chase Elliott, and Bowyer rounded out the top five. Kevin Harvick started on the pole and led 104 laps, but finished in 13th place.
Busch’s poor result dropped him to second place behind Joey Logano in the driver standings, but he remains the favorite to walk away with the NASCAR Cup Series championship at the end of the season. According to SportPesa, Busch is the 11/4 favorite to walk away with the crown, ahead of Logano (6/1), Harvick (6/1) and Martin Truex Jr. (6/1).