Monday, September 3, 2018
Keselowski late move in the pits pays off
Brad Keselowski beat leader Kyle Larson out of the pits with 22 laps to go, then pulled away on a restart to win the Southern 500 on Sunday night and sweep the weekend at Darlington Raceway.
Keselowski took the Xfinity race Saturday when leaders Ross Chastain and Kevin Harvick wrecked late. This time, Keselowski and his crew took advantage on the final caution to move in front with a fast pit stop.
Keselowski then did the rest as he opened a 1 1/2-second lead down the stretch.
It was Keselowski’s first win of the season — the 25th of his career — and the first time a Team Penske driver has won at Darlington since Bobby Allison in the 1985 Southern 500.
“Got to give a lot of credit to my pit crew,” Keselowski said. “Running second that last stop and they nailed it.”
Joey Logano, Keselowski’s Penske teammate, finished second, and Larson was third.
Larson won the first two stages and led 284 of the 367 laps. Yet, he leaves disappointed with his seventh top-three finish of the season.
Kevin Harvick was fourth and Chase Elliott fifth.
Sato wins in Portland, Dixon finishes fifth
Scott Dixon somehow salvaged his championship run with an improbable comeback Sunday at Portland International Raceway to take control of his race to a fifth IndyCar title.
Dixon finished fifth, far behind race winner Takuma Sato, but put together the kind of drive that may define his season. He started 11th, was collected in an opening-lap crash, penalized for speeding on pit road and twice drove through the field from 20th.
His Chip Ganassi Racing team was forced to change its strategy several times, and caution flag helped Dixon cycle ahead of the other championship contenders. He goes to the Sept. 16 season finale with a 29-point over Alexander Rossi.
Sato also benefited from caution flags to win for the third time in his career and first since he won the Indianapolis 500 last season.
Todd tops Funny Car qualifying in Indy
Defending event champion J.R. Todd secured his first No. 1 qualifying position of the Funny Car season Sunday in the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway.
Todd powered his Toyota Camry to a 3.910-second pass at 325.45 mph on Friday night, and the time stood through two more day of qualifying.
Mike Salinas qualified No. 1 in Top Fuel, Tanner Gray was the fastest in Pro Stock, and Matt Smith topped the Pro Stock Motorcycle field. Salinas and Gray also had their best runs Friday, while Smith had a 6.814 at 199.14 on a Victory Magnum in the final round.
Lewis Hamilton wins Italian Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton denied Ferrari a dream home win at the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday as he overtook Kimi Raikkonen eight laps from the end to claim a fifth victory in seven years at Monza.
The Mercedes driver beat Raikkonen, who had started in pole, to tie Michael Schumacher’s record of five Italian GP victories and extend his championship lead to 30 points over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who had a nightmare start.
Valtteri Bottas was third in his Mercedes, ahead of Vettel and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who received a five-second penalty.