All the clichés about peaking at the right time have come to life in the form of Brad Keselowski who scored his third straight NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series win in the South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday.

Keselowski was one of the few playoff drivers and teams who executed perfectly or as close to flawless as you can get. You must add the entire group because the #2 pit crew consistently performed and put Keselowski out or gained spots under caution.

Being in control during the late race restarts was of great benefit to Keselowski, but he still had to execute. Some side drafting and contact between him and teammate Joey Logano also marked the final stages at the 1.5-mile oval as the two were desperately trying to win Roger Penske’s 500th career race across all disciplines of racing.

A litany of problems dogged various playoff contenders as the laps went by and even before the first green flag. Austin Dillon started in the back with pre-race inspection issues, Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, and Alex Bowman had tire troubles though Larson was fortunate enough to recover from his misfortune. A pit road hiccup and a spin for Kyle Busch twice temporarily set him back while Denny Hamlin got loose and was not able to recover. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time befell the likes of Erik Jones, Chase Elliot, and Kurt Busch, while some late race scrambling and contact waylaid Johnson, Bowman and Clint Bowyer.

Despite going a lap down after a tire failure, Kyle Larson rallied to a second-place finish. Martin Truex took third followed by Logano, Ryan Blaney, Aric Almirola, and Kyle Busch. Race two in the Round of 16 is Saturday night at Richmond Raceway.


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