By: Mitchell Breuer
Brad Keselowski had not won at Richmond Raceway since 2014, in which he put on one of his best career performances pacing 384 of 400 laps. He did not lead that many laps Saturday, but the 2012 NASCAR Cup Series Champion was dominant nonetheless, leading 192 laps in route to capturing his fourth win of the season.
Yes, despite the varying tire strategies that were being played it did not seem like anybody was a match for Keselowski. However, the driver of the No. 2 was not the story of the event; instead,Austin Dillon surprised again with another solid race and a fourth place. What may have been more impressive though was his overall effort, as the No. 3 remained near the front all race long as a serious contender.
Dillon was not without his flaws though, as an effort tograb the lead late, he attempted to execute his last pit stop of the race early, however on his first attempt he missed pit road. The No. 3 did eventually grabbedfirst, but because of the lost time,Keselowski was not far behind and caught him a lot quicker.
While those two drivers had it right all night, two drivers that just could not get it right were Matt DiBenedetto and Ryan Blaney. Both of whom needed strong runs to chip away at their respective deficits behind the playoff cutoff.
Neither one seemed to have a top-10 car all night, instead struggling to remain on the lead lap. DiBenedetto will now be 25 points behind 12th entering Bristol Motor Speedway, Blaney 27, both likely needing a win to advance to the Round of 12.
To go along with the noticeable lack of success from those two drivers, there was also no natural cautions, with the only time the yellow flag came out was due to previously scheduled breaks in the action.
Now, typically a race with not accidents could be considered a more boring affair; however, with the differing tire strategies, along with the added playoff implications,the race did not lack excitement. But, at the same time was not the most memorable event either which caused a mixed reaction from social media and drivers, including Clint Bowyer comparing the racing to traffic on the highway, saying it needed to be better when fans are allowed to return.
One thing is for certain, with the upcoming schedule containing Bristol, the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL, and a date with Talladega Superspeedway,the action will most likely pick up.