NASCAR: Keselowski dominates in playoff win at Richmond

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Brad Keselowski (2) celebrates in Victory Lane after winning a NASCAR Cup Series auto race Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020, in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

RICHMOND, Va. – Brad Keselowski entered NASCAR's playoffs certain he has as good a chance at the Cup championship as favorites Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin.

He even predicted he’d win at Richmond Raceway.

His confidence was justified as Keselowski dominated Saturday night at Richmond Raceway, leading 192 laps in the second playoff race and advancing into the next round.

On a night when the only caution flags were scheduled by NASCAR, leading to plenty of green-flag pit stops that jumbled the leaderboard, Keselowski kept rising to the top.

"I tell you, it’s a chess game and I got blinders on," Keselowski said. “I don’t know what everybody is doing and who is where and who is on what strategy, but (crew chief) Jeremy Bullins, the whole 2 team, excellent performance.”

Harvick, the title favorite, won last week’s opener to earn the automatic berth into the second round. Hamlin, derailed at his home track of Richmond by a speeding penalty, finished 12th but still advanced into the next round based on points.

Keselowski was the only driver able to run with Harvick and Hamlin when racing resumed in May following a pause for the pandemic. He won three earlier races, earned a contract extension at Team Penske and steadfastly maintained he should not be discounted in the title race.

He didn’t do a celebratory burnout after making good on his Richmond prediction because that specific No. 2 Ford has won twice in as many races this year and Keselowski wants it intact for the championship-deciding finale at Phoenix.