Written by Adrian Beecher
Daytona, FL - Brad Keselowski in the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford opened the 2018 NASCAR season with a win in the 2018 Advanced AutoParts Clash at Daytona. Keselowski led the last 36 laps of the race after multiple lead changes early on in the 75 lap race.
Here's how it all went down at the Clash at Daytona!
Austin Dillon started on the pole to start the Clash and would lead the field of 17 around Daytona International Speedway in the lead for the 1st lap. Then on lap 2, Denny Hamlin in the No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota took over the lead.
Hamlin would lead it until Chase Elliott in the No. 9 Mountain Dew Chevrolet made moves to go from 6th to 1st on lap 10. Two laps later, Austin Dillion got a big run to get out in front. However, as they reached the start-finish line, it was Elliott still out in front by just hundredths of a second. Then on the ensuing lap, Dillion was able to overtake the lead.
The lead for Dillion only would last a lap before Elliott regained the lead position. The excitement continued as the field continued to jockey for position. Joey Logano in the No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford was in the lead on lap 24 after battling Elliott. However, as the 25th lap was completed, and the scheduled caution flag flew, it was Kevin Harvick in the No. 4 Jimmy Johns Ford in the lead.
On the restart, Brad Keselowski in the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford was out in front and stayed out in front for a while. Then on lap 34, the air on Jamie McMurray's No. 1 Cessna Chevrolet sent him sideways, in turn, four, sending McMurray sliding down the track and then slid back up hitting the outside wall bringing out the caution.
While all of this excitement was going on, Chase Elliott had regained the lead ahead of the caution, passing Keselowski. On the restart with just 37 laps to go, it was Elliott in the lead. That would only last a lap as Keselowski made the pass to overtake the lead on the ensuing lap.
With 32 laps to go, Rickey Stenhouse Jr. passed Kyle Busch below the yellow line, and NASCAR would serve him a pass-through penalty for the violation. He would serve the pass-through with just 29 laps to go. At the same time, McMurray took his car to the garage, ending his day. All the while, Keselowski maintained the lead.
The pass-through for Stenhouse proved costly as the field stayed green and with just 18 laps to go, went down a lap.
After leading 30 laps consecutively, Keselowski had a piece of trash stuck on his left side grill. It was not raising the temperature while reporting over the radio that it wasn't giving him any problems.
On the final lap, as the field tried to make a push to get past Keselowski on the backstretch. Kyle Busch in the No. 18 M&M's Toyota got a big run behind Kyle Larson in the No. 42 Credit One Bank Chevrolet. Larson took the run right into the back bumper of the No. 48 of Jimmie Johnson, who then got sideways. The three of them stacked up, crashing going into turn 3, with it collecting Chase Elliott as well.
While all of that went on in the background, Brad Keselowski took the checkered flag, winning the 2018 Advanced Auto Parts Clash at Daytona. Finishing 2nd was his Penske teammate Joey Logano in the No. 22.
Brad Keselowski, team owner Rodger Penske, and crew chief Paul Wolfe address the media after Clash Win