RICHMOND, Va. — Brad Keselowski ran down Kyle Busch with 16 laps to go and drove away to win the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Richmond Raceway.
Keselowski’s pass came in heavy lapped traffic and marked the third time he’d used a superior car to catch Busch on a long run. Busch had a better short-run machine and had to be wishing for a late caution to give him one last chance for his 92nd career victory in the series.
The final green-flag run lasted 89 laps, giving Keselowski his 36th career series victory and fourth in 17 starts at Richmond.
"He’s a great racer and when you can race with him you know you’re having a good day, especially in this series," Keselowski said.
Busch led five times for 182 laps, and Keselowski led four times, but for just 34 laps.
"Right at the end I was able to pounce, and that’s a testament to the team," Keselowski said.
Elliott Sadler, an Emporia, Virginia, native who is winless this season, and now winless in 29 career starts on the 0.75-mile oval where he grew up coming to races as a kid, nevertheless clinched his second consecutive regular season championship with a fifth-place finish. There is one race left in the regular season — next weekend in Chicago — before the top 12 drivers contest the first-ever playoff in the series.
"It feels very good to do it here at Richmond of all places with my friends and family here," Sadler said.
His team has been preparing for weeks for the playoffs, he said, and he feels good heading into the homestretch.
"It’s all about one race for me. It’s all about Homestead," Sadler, speaking of the championship-deciding final race in Florida.
It was the final series race that Cup veterans are allowed to participate in this season.
"Tough to finish second, especially in the last go-round for this season, but there’s more races to come," Busch said.
Ty Dillon won the first stage, and Keselowski passed Busch on the inside on the 150th lap to win the second stage.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., the race winner in each of his last three Xfinity starts at Richmond, finished ninth.