Brad Keselowski predicted a win at Richmond Raceway and that is exactly what happened as he led 192 of the 400 laps to earn his fourth victory of the 2020 season.
The NASCAR Cup Series held the second round of the playoffs at Richmond Saturday evening.
Kevin Harvick led the field to green, while Kyle Busch had to start at the rear due to failing pre-race inspection twice.
Harvick held serve through the first 20 laps but would fade to postseason underdog Austin Dillon, who led to the competition caution on lap 30. Busch was able to work his way up to 21st during that time.
On the restart following the competition caution, Denny Hamlin would take the lead from Dillon and cruise to his eighth stage win of 2020. Dillon would rally to second.
After a surging start through the field, Busch would stall out and finish 13th in the stage.
As for Ryan Blaney, he had to pit for a second time due to loose lug nuts. He finished 25th in the stage.
Following pit stops, Hamlin and Dillon were caught speeding on pit road and had to drop to the rear of the field.
A lengthy stage two would play out fully under green. Drivers such as Harvick and DiBenedetto would pull a two-stop strategy in the stage, while the leaders would only do a one-stop strategy.
Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski would pace the field early on in stage two. The Team Penske teammates nearly made contact as Keselowski took the lead. Harvick would cycle to the lead through the first stops, but Dillon would soon catch him thanks to being on 11-lap fresher tires.
On the second stop for Harvick, he would fail to get all four tires below the orange marking on pit entry and would have to serve a pass-through penalty. He would rally to get his lap back and finish 10th in the stage.
Keselowski had fresher tires than Dillon and would pass him for the lead with 18 to go in stage two. Keselowski would go on to win the stage — his seventh of 2020.
The final stage would be dominated by Keselowski after Dillon missed pit road trying to make his second stop.
Martin Truex Jr. and Logano rounded out the top three, while Dillon finished fourth. Elliott rounded out the top five.
The Cup Series will close out the Round of 16 with the night race at Bristol Motor Speedway next Saturday.
Playoff driver results:
- Brad Keselowski – 1st
- Martin Truex Jr. – 2nd
- Joey Logano – 3rd
- Austin Dillon – 4th
- Chase Elliott – 5th
- Kyle Busch – 6th
- Kevin Harvick – 7th
- Aric Almirola – 8th
- Alex Bowman – 9th
- Clint Bowyer – 10th
- Denny Hamlin – 12th
- Kurt Busch – 13th
- Cole Custer – 14th
- Matt DiBenedetto – 17th
- Ryan Blaney – 19th
- William Byron – 21st