“You gave us the ability to see things that we didn’t think we’d see back in the 80’s or didn’t have an opportunity to see,” said NASCAR President Mike Helton. “In today’s world, with the technology and everything that you brought to us, the personality and character, today’s our day to say thank you.”
Just before the final restart with two overtime laps remaining, Gordon was forced to pit road as he ran out of gas. He finished 26th.
“It was the best effort and chance we had at winning the race,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about for us. Leading (the points) and where we’ve been, it’s all about wins right now.
“We’ve got to go for it, so I thought it was a great call.”
Larson led twice in the Cup race for 14 laps, and has earned six consecutive top-10 finishes in Nationwide.
“It’s been a rough three weeks (on the Cup side) leading up to now,” he said. “We were really good and then we had two DNFs and then a bad race at Sonoma. Glad to have a really good day.”
Goodyear’s Greg Stucker disagreed.
“The tires failed in a manner consistent with low inflation pressure,” he said. Goodyear issues recommended minimum tire pressures for each race.
Johnson, who finished 42nd, said he expected finger-pointing. “We will try to dig in and learn more, but I can promise you one thing – it wasn’t low tire pressure,” he said.
Busch led the first 62 laps of the Cup race and got back into contention for the win at the end.
“We had a late caution there that we probably should have pitted, but we had a win, so you’ll do stupid things with that opportunity when it presents itself, and we stayed out,” Busch said. “We ended up coming home second, running out right at the start‑finish. Perfect time.”
Five key moments
1. Jimmie Johnson lost a lap when he had to pit under green for a flat tire, then he wrecked on Lap 14 shortly after returning to the race.
2. While running in second on Lap 212, Joey Logano was wrecked by Morgan Shepherd, who was 14 laps down. Logano was done for the day.
3. After a caution for debris, Keselowski restarted ninth on Lap 254 and needed just 16 laps to return to the lead.
4. A wreck involving Justin Allgaier with two laps remaining of the 301 scheduled sent the race into a two-lap overtime with Keselowski in the lead.
5. Right before the restart, Jeff Gordon, then second, ran out of fuel, as didKevin Harvick shortly after the restart. Keselowski had little problem holding off Kyle Busch for the win.