Brad Keselowski was all set up to win his 10th NASCAR race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Keselowski, who won the pole Friday, had the lead with two laps left Sunday, and it appeared the Team Penske driver was on his way to a third Kobalt 400 victory in four years.
But his successful Las Vegas run ended quicker than a greedy tourist going all in on the blackjack table.
An untimely, mysterious mechanical issue stopped Keselowski’s momentum on the second-to-last lap, possibly causing the collision between Kyle Busch and Joey Logano during the thrilling finale.
Martin Truex Jr. zoomed by Keselowski to regain the lead and take the Monster Energy Cup Series race. Keselowski finished fifth.
“No, they’ll have to take it apart,” said Keselowski when asked what broke inside his No. 2 Ford Fusion. “At the end, we have to go to inspection and stuff, so we’re not allowed to look. I just know it was something major.
“It wouldn’t turn, and I lost brakes, so that’s a pretty good indicator, but that’s the way it goes.”
Keselowski, who had the top spot from laps 244 to 265, faded during the final stretch and was stuck in the middle between the charging Busch and Logano, Keselowski’s teammate.
Logano lost control of his No. 22 car trying to avoid Keselowski and bumped Busch to send him spinning off the track.
“I just had three-quarter speed, and when everybody is charging behind you that’s gonna cause a wreck,” Keselowski said. “I got out of the way the best I could, and I didn’t know if it was enough, but I saw they wrecked. Maybe that was related, and maybe it wasn’t.”
FORGETFUL RACE FOR STEWART-HAAS RACING
It wasn’t a good race day for three of four Stewart-Haas Racing drivers.
Kevin Harvick, who came into the Kobalt 400 as the Cup Series points leader, was out of the race early after losing a tire on lap 66 and crashing into the wall.
Harvick wasn’t happy about the slow medical response.
“The worst part was the medical response,” said Harvick, who finished 38th. “It took them forever to get to the car. I thought we made that better, but obviously, we haven’t.”
Danica Patrick had a blown engine with 15 laps left and finished 36th.
Kurt Busch, who needed a battery change on lap 203 during a green light, took 30th.
Clint Bowyer, however, finished 10th to give Stewart-Haas Racing some positive news after Las Vegas.
They were bringing the Xfinity Series cars back to the garage area after the Boyd Gaming 300 when a familiar face was spotted checking out the sleek racing machines.
“They’re going to let me drive the pace car (at the Kobalt 400),” Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., said.
The official NASCAR pace car?
“No, the second one — they would never trust me with the real one,” said the senator, a former competitor at the LVMS Bullring whose father, “Black” Jack Heller, was a Saturday night regular at the oval in Carson City.
Contact Gilbert Manzano at email@example.com or 702-383-0492. Follow @gmanzano24 on Twitter.