There is always one race in the Chase where a non-championship contender sneaks up and grabs the victory. Charlotte has shown to be a track where this feat can easily be accomplished. Brad Keselowski was the driver to pull it off this season when he pulled into victory lane Saturday Night at Charlotte. It was nowhere near a dominant performance by the defending champion. He did all he needed to in order to break his winless streak that spanned over a year.
Besides Keselowski showing his Penske power towards the end of the Bank of America 500, it was Hendrick Motorsports parading the race. Located just down the road from the speedway, Hendrick puts emphasis on the Charlotte races to make sure they hold the local bragging rights.
Jeff Gordon grabbed the pole to lead the race early. His teammate, Dale Earnhardt Jr., was next to lead when he powered to the front on lap 30. Kasey Kahne would take the lead away 14 laps later. Earnhardt Jr. would swap the lead again with Kahne after a lap 83 caution that put the two up front on the restart.
Kahne stayed up front for awhile after that exchange. Jimmie Johnson caught up on lap 178 to take his first lead of the night. He led in the longest green flag run of the race and it looked as victory was his until a late debris caution came with 28 laps to go.
The caution led to pit stops and strategy which took Johnson from the lead. Kahne was the leader on the restart, but his two tires wouldn’t hold up for long. Matt Kenseth took a hard charge at Kahne, but he couldn’t close the deal. Next it was Brad Keselowski who got to Kahne, but couldn’t get by. That was until there were 9 laps to go when he cleared Kahne.
Keselowski managed to hold the lead from that point on. This win was the No.2 teams first since Dover of last September. A long awaited victory for the defending champion who just hasn’t seemed to have the same magic he had last season. Keselowski may have missed out on the Chase, but he surely wasn’t going to be kept away from victory lane in 2013. He is a strong non-Chaser who could potentially upset the Chase field again before the season concludes.
|1||23||2||Brad Keselowski||Miller Lite||Ford||334||$319,441||Running||11||47|
|2||5||5||Kasey Kahne||Quaker State||Chevrolet||334||$227,310||Running||138||44|
|3||20||20||Matt Kenseth||Dollar General||Toyota||334||$194,226||Running||1||42|
|4||4||48||Jimmie Johnson||Lowe’s Dover White||Chevrolet||334||$185,221||Running||130||41|
|6||2||29||Kevin Harvick||Jimmy John’s||Chevrolet||334||$157,346||Running||0||38|
|8||7||39||Ryan Newman||Quicken Loans||Chevrolet||334||$129,343||Running||2||37|
|9||18||11||Denny Hamlin||FedEx Ground||Toyota||334||$107,160||Running||0||35|
|11||14||15||Clint Bowyer||Raspberry 5-Hour Energy||Toyota||334||$127,493||Running||1||34|
|12||8||42||Juan Pablo Montoya||Target||Chevrolet||334||$114,949||Running||0||32|
|13||16||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr||My Best Buy||Ford||334||$131,121||Running||0||31|
|14||10||78||Kurt Busch||Furniture Row / Denver Mattress||Chevrolet||333||$110,280||Running||0||30|
|15||6||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr||Time Warner Cable||Chevrolet||333||$96,935||Running||19||30|
|18||12||22||Joey Logano||Shell Pennzoil / Hertz||Ford||332||$108,018||Running||0||26|
|20||35||10||Danica Patrick||GoDaddy Breast Cancer Awareness||Chevrolet||332||$80,310||Running||0||24|
|22||17||56||Martin Truex Jr||NAPA Auto Parts||Toyota||331||$110,335||Running||0||22|
|24||13||27||Paul Menard||Menards / Duracell||Chevrolet||331||$107,501||Running||0||20|
|25||27||55||Brian Vickers||Aaron’s Dream Machine||Toyota||330||$85,735||Running||0||0|
|26||36||83||David Reutimann||Burger King-Dr. Pepper||Toyota||330||$95,043||Running||0||18|
|27||19||33||Brian Scott||Shore Lodge||Chevrolet||330||$92,718||Running||0||0|
|28||24||47||Bobby Labonte||Scott Products||Toyota||329||$98,418||Running||0||16|
|29||34||38||David Gilliland||Long John Silver’s||Ford||328||$87,693||Running||1||16|
|30||30||34||David Ragan||Taco Bell||Ford||328||$94,347||Running||0||14|
|31||28||13||Casey Mears||No. 13 GEICO Ford Fusion||Ford||328||$80,585||Running||0||13|
|32||39||7||Dave Blaney||Breast Cancer Awareness||Chevrolet||327||$72,360||Running||0||12|
|33||32||40||Landon Cassill||Moon Shine Attitude Attire||Chevrolet||327||$72,235||Running||0||0|
|34||31||30||Cole Whitt||Swan Energy||Toyota||327||$72,110||Running||0||0|
|35||41||93||Travis Kvapil||Dr. Pepper||Toyota||326||$79,960||Running||0||9|
|36||40||32||Timmy Hill||U.S. Chrome||Ford||324||$71,780||Running||0||8|
|40||37||98||Michael McDowell||Phil Parsons Racing||Ford||83||$58,550||Vibration||0||4|
|41||33||35||Josh Wise||MDS Transport||Ford||81||$54,550||Brakes||0||0|
|42||22||14||Mark Martin||Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1||Chevrolet||80||$97,375||Engine||0||2|
|43||42||36||J.J. Yeley||United Mining Equipment||Chevrolet||23||$47,050||Accident||0||1|