Penske's Brad Keselowski gets first win of 2018 — NASCAR Darlington

Getty Images

Getty Images

After a 43-year drought, a Penske driver returned to Victory Lane at Darlington Raceway.

Kevin Harvick lashed out at Ross Chastain after their incident battling for the lead in Saturday's Xfinity race at Darlington Raceway. Clint Bowyer's No. 14 will honor Dale Jarrett's father, Hall of Famer Ned Jarrett, with the racing great's blue color scheme on the Ford Galaxie Jarrett used to win the 1965 Southern 500. "It would have been cool to do that, but at the same time, to bring a (dominant) vehicle to the race track like we did this weekend is something to be proud of and a big confidence booster". "This is such a special race track".

"I knew the only weakness we would have throughout the race was a short run, and that's what it kind of came down to".

However, two of the last three Cup Series have won by non-"big three" drivers. Banners listing all 49 of Darlington's winners since its first race in 1950 are set up in what had been seating closest to the track.

The driver who returned to Roush Fenway Racing in a part-time role this season isn't ready to talk about next year. (+350) and Denny Hamlin (+600). Larson followed from the lead on the following lap.

Larson struggled after being demoted by Keselowski ahead of the final restart.

"I don't think I did enough to get this opportunity", said the 25-year-old Chastain, a Florida watermelon farmer. They (Chastain and Harvick) has their thing off (Turn) 2 and we were able to pounce on it. "So NBC is going to send me to all the tracks, and then they're going to pay me to talk about it".

Truex ended up finishing in 11th after he was unable to recover to the lead lap later on. "Today, we won it on the last pit stop". Harvick drove to Chastain's pits and stopped his auto briefly before driving back to the garage.

Keselowski then did the rest as he opened a 1½-second lead down the stretch.

"It was an up-and-down night on pit road", Wolfe said.

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After reading Harvick's comments, Chastain had little to say: "Nothing I say is going to help". "I think NASCAR is extremely blessed to still have him as such a visible part of the sport".

Keselowski controlled the final restart on Lap 348 and pulled away, as Larson faded to third and had to fend off a determined charge by Kevin Harvick to hold that position.

Chastain has had four top-10 finishes on the Xfinity series this year, the latest a seventh at Road America last week.

Larson has led more than 100 laps in three different races this season but has yet to win any of them.

Larson said he was praying for long runs.

On the ensuing race off pit road, Keselowski edged out Larson to become the new leader. "Unfortunately, we had a loose wheel", he said of Sunday night's first issue. We had a bad auto and ran second, and that sucked. "Our vehicle was so good so I was happy about that". Hamlin is also the defending champion in the Southern 500. Johnson exited Sunday's race on lap 227 with a mechanical failure, putting the seven-time champion in an unfamiliar spot.

"Do I want redemption on the Cup side?" "We have been around this spot (14th in the standings) for a while". Great auto. We've had a lot of fun this year. "If we can just start minimizing mistakes, my own included, we will be much better off and have a shot".

There were no cautions after the race was delayed about 45-minutes due to threatening weather.

This is Darlington's annual throwback weekend, NASCAR's form of baseball's Old Timer's Day. Seats were almost full at the track and teams, drivers have a ball dipping into nostalgia with various throwback paint schemes, wardrobe and honoring legends of the sport. Larson would lose the lead to Martin Truex Jr. during yellow flag stops after a wreck on Lap 128, but reclaim the lead 30 laps later and win Stage 2.

Denny Hamlin, the victor of 2017's race, headlines the race and will start in pole position. It was the first stage wins for Larson since back in Kansas.

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