Keselowski wins Chase Race #1, locks himself into next round

5:42 PM

Brad Keselowski carried his momentum from the regular season into the Chase, winning the Sprint Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway.

Though Sunday's performance wasn't as dominant as his win last weekend in Richmond,  Keselowski blew past Kyle Larson and Kevin Harvick on the final restart to take the checkered flag.

“What a crazy day,” Keselowski said in victory lane. “I’m not sure what really happened (on the final restart), but I’m glad to be here.”

Because of the new Chase format, Keselowski has automatically locked himself into the second round of the playoffs, and doesn't need to take any risks during the next two races.

Keselowski started the race in 25th after a poor showing at first practice. Since qualifying was rained out (where Team Penske excels), he had to start towards the back of the field and work his way up to the leaders.

“When you start from the back, nobody expects you to be out front,” he said. “But these Fords have come together for a strong Chase run.”

Out of the 16 Chase drivers, Aric Almirola, Ryan Newman, Greg Biffle and AJ Allmendinger are the four in danger of being eliminated based on points.

Here’s your UNOFFICIAL finishing order:

12Brad Keselowski
224Jeff Gordon
342Kyle Larson #
44Kevin Harvick
522Joey Logano
611Denny Hamlin
718Kyle Busch
81Jamie McMurray
941Kurt Busch
1048Jimmie Johnson
1120Matt Kenseth
1288Dale Earnhardt Jr.
135Kasey Kahne
1478Martin Truex Jr.
1531Ryan Newman
163Austin Dillon #
1717Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
1814Tony Stewart
1910Danica Patrick
2099Carl Edwards
2127Paul Menard
2247AJ Allmendinger
239Marcos Ambrose
2416Greg Biffle
2555Brian Vickers
2613Casey Mears
2751Justin Allgaier #
2840Landon Cassill(i)
2936Reed Sorenson
3026Cole Whitt #
3134David Ragan
3295Michael McDowell
3398Josh Wise
3438David Gilliland
3523Alex Bowman #
3666Joe Nemechek(i)
3732Joey Gase(i)
3833Travis Kvapil
3915Clint Bowyer
407Michael Annett #
4143Aric Almirola
4283Ryan Truex #
4337Mike Bliss(i)

Feature photo courtesy of Getty Images