Brad Keselowski ends winless streak at Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway

DARLINGTON, SC— Brad Keselowski won the Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway on Sunday, ending a 110-race winless streak.

Bard Keselowski

The Ford Dark Horse Mustang won its first NASCAR Cup Series race this season in 13 races, leading to a heated exchange between teammate Chris Buescher and pole winner Tyler Reddick on pit road after the fact.

His margin of victory over second-place Ty Gibbs was 1.214 seconds.

Keselowski’s victory was the first by a NASCAR Cup Series driver/owner since Tony Stewart won at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway on June 26, 2016.

This was Ford’s 729th all-time NASCAR Cup Series victory and its first of the season. This was Ford’s 33rd all-time NASCAR Cup Series victory at Darlington. Ford won its first race at the 1.366-mile oval on Sept. 3, 1956 with NASCAR Hall of Famer Curtis Turner.

“What a heck of a day,” exulted Keselowski, who finished 1.214 seconds ahead of runner-up Ty Gibbs. “It’s Darlington, so whether it’s your first win, your last win, this is a really special track. The history of NASCAR, it’s as tough as it gets, and that battle at the end with my teammate and Tyler Reddick, we just laid it all out on the line, it was freaking awesome.

For four straight laps, Keselowski and Reddick battled side-by-side, allowing Buescher to slip past into the lead at the start/finish line on Lap 264. Reddick cleared Keselowski shortly thereafter and took off in pursuit of Buescher.

That’s when Keselowski exercised patience and stayed within striking distance, waiting for the drama that unfolded ahead of him.

On Lap 284, Reddick’s ill-timed bid for the lead went awry. His No. 45 Camry slid up the track into Buescher’s Ford, pinning it against the outside wall in Turn 4. Both cars were damaged and unable to maintain pace, and Keselowski charged into the lead on Lap 285.

Buescher, still smarting from last week’s loss to Kyle Larson at Kansas in the closest finish in Cup Series history (0.001 seconds), confronted Reddick on pit road after the drivers climbed from their cars.

We got wrecked,” Buescher said later. “That one’s clear as day. Don’t need any cameras to tell us. I don’t know what to say. We’ve raced really clean through the years, tried to be really respectful about it, and we get used up.

“It (Reddick’s move) is just something that you know is not going to work. I’m just really pissed off about it right now. We certainly had a chance to win another one. I’m proud to have that speed. Just huge congratulations to Brad and the six bunch on their win. That’s awesome, but I wanted it for our group right here.”

Reddick took responsibility for the incident and punctuated his conversation with Buescher with the words, “I know. I (screwed) up-I’m sorry.”

Reddick elaborated after he and Buescher separated.

I completely understand where he is coming from,” Reddick said. “He was running the top, running his own race, running his own line to keep me at bay. I made a really aggressive move and was hoping I was going to clear him. When I realized I wasn’t going to, I tried to check up to not slide up into him, but, yeah, I wish I wouldn’t have done that.

“I completely understand why he is that mad. He did nothing wrong. Just trying to win the race, and to take myself out-that’s one thing-I can live with that, but just disappointed it played out the way that it did, and I took him out of the race as well.”

There were six caution periods for a total of 38 laps. Twenty-eight of the 36 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.

Kyle Larson remains the championship leader after Darlington with a 30-point advantage over second-place Martin Truex Jr.

Stage 1 Winner:  Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

Stage 2 Winner:  Tyler Reddick of 23XI Racing (Toyota)

Stewart Haas Finish:       

  • Josh Berry (Started 33rd, Finished 3rd / Running, completed 293 of 293 laps)
  • Chase Briscoe (Started 13th, Finished 5th / Running, completed 293 of 293 laps)  
  • Noah Gragson (Started 36th, Finished 14th / Running, completed 293 of 293 laps)
  • Ryan Preece (Started 26th, Finished 17th / Running, completed 293 of 293 laps)

Stewart Haas Points:

  • Chase Briscoe (14th with 322 points, 164 out of first)
  • Noah Gragson (19th with 239 points, 247 out of first)
  • Josh Berry (21st with 230 points, 256 out of first)
  • Ryan Preece (28th with 192 points, 294 out of first)

Josh Berry earned his first top-five of the season, and his first top-five in two career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Darlington.

Josh Berry

This was Berry’s best finish so far this year. His best was 11th, earned March 31 at Richmond (Va.) Raceway.

“It was just a really good day. We had a really good car yesterday in practice,” said Josh Berry, driver of the No. 4 Harrison’s Ford Mustang Dark Horse. “Unfortunately, we didn’t qualify where we should’ve. A lot to take away from that. But overall, the car was really strong. We know we’re capable of days like this, we just need to keep chipping away at it, keep learning, and keep getting better. I have a great group of people around me, and this is a finish they deserve, for sure.”

Berry’s third-place result bettered his previous best finish at Darlington – 30th, earned last May.

This was his fourth straight finish of 16th or better. He finished 16th April 21 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, 14th April 28 at Dover (Del.) Motor Speedway, and 15th last Sunday at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City.

Berry was the highest-finishing rookie.

Chase Briscoe earned his first top-five and fifth top-10 of the season. It was his first top-five in seven career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Darlington.

Chase Briscoe

Briscoe’s fifth-place finish was the 11th top-five of his NASCAR Cup Series career, a mark highlighted by his March 2022 win at Phoenix Raceway.

“Our car was extremely good on the really, really long runs,” said Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 14 Mahindra Tractors Ford Mustang Dark Horse. “The short run, we kind of gave up too much time. We kind of needed those really, really long runs. It would’ve been interesting to see how the race would’ve played out if it had gone green until the end. We were probably the best car over 40 or so laps, but the race didn’t play out to go with our car. Overall, it was a really good weekend for our guys. It was a good day for Stewart-Haas Racing. I just wish we could’ve been four spots better, but after the last two weeks, we needed a really solid run. I’m really happy to see that a Ford won. I wish it would’ve been us, but it’s nice to see a Ford finally win. Now we go to the All-Star Race and see if we can race our way in.”

This was Briscoe’s best finish so far this year. His previous best was sixth, earned April 14 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth—his 11th straight finish of 21st or better.

Briscoe’s fifth-place result bettered his previous best finish at Darlington, which was 11th, earned in his first start at the track in May 2021.

This was Briscoe’s second consecutive top-15 at Darlington. He finished 15th last August in the Southern 500.

Noah Gragson earned his eighth top-15 of the season, his first top-15 in two career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Darlington, and his seventh straight top-20.

Noah Gragson

Gragson’s 14th-place result bettered his previous best finish at Darlington – 26th, earned last May.

“Started in the back, got put in bad positions on restarts,” said Noah Gragson, driver of the No. 10 Ford Mustang Dark Horse. “Got fenced by the 38 (Todd Gilliland), that was frustrating. It was good to see the 4 and the 14 runs in the top five. It was just a tough weekend overall for the team. We’ll get ready for next weekend.”

Ryan Preece earned his sixth top-20 of the season and fifth top-20 in nine career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Darlington. 

Ryan Preece

Next Up:

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the non-points NASCAR All-Star Race on Sunday, May 19 at North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway. The race starts at 8 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio beginning at 5:30 p.m. with the undercard NASCAR All-Star Open.