Keselowski Wins Opening Stage, Leads Most Laps, Unlucky in End of Daytona 500
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 19, 2023) – Brad Keselowski and RFK Racing dominated Sunday’s Daytona 500 as he led the most laps of any driver (42), won the opening stage in the NEXLIZET Ford Mustang, but was collected in a multi-car incident in a second attempt of NASCAR overtime to ultimately finish 22nd.
Keselowski, who finished fourth in his Duel race Thursday night, started 10th for the 65th running of ‘The Great American Race.’ In total he led six different times, numerous times drafting with teammate Chris Buescher, as the duo led a combined 74 laps Sunday.
The 2012 Cup Champion was eager to get to the front of the field as he and Buescher picked up a big run of momentum in the closing laps of stage one to win the opening stage of 65 laps. He would restart second for the second stage, and led the field at lap 100, a stretch of 26 consecutive laps led at the time.
The race’s first non-stage caution came at lap 119 for a multi-car incident with Keselowski in 13th. Following a pit stop – the first 4-tire stop of the season – Keselowski restarted 18th and finished the stage in that spot.
Five of the race’s eight cautions would fly in the third and final stage, in true Superspeedway fashion, with a debris yellow occurring just nine laps into the stage. Keselowski was seventh on the ensuing restart, and by 45 to go worked his way again to the front, this time to P2. He and Buescher linked up there for 20-straight laps that the No. 17 led, before both hit pit road for fuel-only with 25 to go.
A yellow came on lap 183 for another crash with Keselowski in 10th. He fired back off ninth on the ensuing restart, and was credited with fifth when the yellow again came out with three to go.
From there, a pair of NASCAR overtime restarts took place with back-to-back multi-car pileups in a span of eight laps. Keselowski maneuvered through the first, but was collected in the last that ultimately ended the race. He finished 22nd.
The No. 6 team returns to action next week as the West Coast swing kicks off with a Sunday afternoon race at Auto Club Speedway. Race coverage is set for 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, with radio coverage on MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.