The tricky triangle is a race that many drivers find exciting and it certainly left Dale Earnhardt Jr something to celebrate when he beat Brad Keselowski to the finish line. He has now cemented his place in the Chase having won the first race of the season in Daytona and so his two race wins will ensure his entry to the final race of the season.
Earnhardt explained afterwards that Keselowski had a better car but due to some debris landing on the grille it was not able to get ahead. However, he still praised his team and his car, explaining that they made a big difference on the day.
This is the drivers 21st victory out of 519 races and on top it is the first season when he has ever won more than one race. He has also never won this particular race, so he had even more to celebrate.
At the start of the race things went Keselowski’s way as he was bale to pass Denny Hamlin with Jeff Gordon going with him. By lap 25 Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart were all in the top 5 but there was caution on lap 32 due to a grass fire which was burning near to where fireworks had been let off earlier. Keselowski came out in front after that but in lap 57 took a pit stop and then there was another caution. This helped Matt Kenseth get extensive repairs he needed after rear ending his car. However, when the race restarted it was still Keselowski in front ahead of Harvick, Gordon, Stewart, Busch, Earnhardt, Jimmie Johnson and Clint Bowyer. Gordon fall back eventually.
The top four stayed on track during the next caution which was sensible as there were problems in the out road when Jimmie Johnson his Aric Almirola due to team miscommunications. At this point Keselowski was in the lead but got shuffled back to fifth with a caution disrupting things again. Stewart and Busch were now fighting over first position with Harvick and Earnhardt in third and fourth. Another caution and Stewart went in to the pit to end up with a speeding caution that sent him back. Then Danica Patrick hit a wall which enables Harvick to get in to the lead. There was then a multi-car wreck involving Kasey Kahne, Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and Kyle Busch who was accused of causing it.
There was now only 12 laps to go and Keselowski was ahead of Earnhardt, Busch, Logano, Hamlin, Bowyer, Johnson and Gordon. However debris on the grille of Keselowski reduced the air intake and so the oil and water temperatures were too high forcing him to allow Earnhardt to pass him, hoping the back draft would suck off the debris. However, he was then not able to retake the lead so Earnhardt was able to pas0 sthe finish line first.