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Brad Keselowski overcomes elements to win Cobalt 400

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Sunday’s Cobalt 400 was a competitive dual between NASCAR’s top drivers, but when the dust settled – literally – Brad Keselowski rolled into Victory Lane at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He topped second-place Joey Logano by less than one second to claim his 18th Sprint Cup victory.

The start of the race was delayed by heavy wind, followed by another stoppage midway through the race because of a dust storm. The drivers contended with the heavy winds throughout the race.

Finishing third was Jimmie Johnson, followed by Las Vegas native Kyle Busch while Austin Dillon came in fifth. It was Dillon’s third career top five finish while rookie Ryan Blaney had his best performance with a sixth place finish.

The wind did not come as a surprise. Las Vegas was under a high-wind advisory issued on Saturday.

A total of nine drivers led the race. Johnson led for 76 laps while Logano was in front for 75.

Keselowski made the final pass on Busch with under 10 laps remaining and slowly edged away to claim the 97th win for his team owner, Roger Penske. Keselowski led the race for a total of 24 laps.

“It is such a good feeling to be back in Victory Lane,” said Keselowski. “It’s been way too long. I’m beat. I put everything I had into driving this car.”

He won for the second time in the last three contests held at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It was not necessarily a popular win among the fans, many of whom booed the 32-year-old native of Rochester Hills, Michigan.

Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Kurt Busch and Kasey Kahne rounded out the top 10. Despite his fourth place finish, Kyle Busch remained the season points leader followed by Johnson and Harvick.

Next week, the teams head to Phoenix International Raceway for the Good Sam 500.

Bob Sparks is President of Ramos and Sparks Group, a Tallahassee-based business and political consulting firm. During his career, he has directed media relations and managed events for professional baseball, served as chief spokesperson for the Republican Party of Florida as well as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney General of Florida. After serving as Executive Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Charlie Crist, he returned to the private sector working with clients including the Republican National Committee and political candidates in Japan. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Sue and can be reached at Bob@ramos-sparks.com.

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