Brian Scott will join Brad Keselowski on the front row
Kevin Harvick finishes second for eighth straight top-two finish RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings FONTANA, Calif. -- After Sunday's Auto Club 400 , there may be a warrant issued for Brad Keselowski . After all, the driver of the No. 2 Team Penske Ford committed his own version of "Grand Theft Auto" at Auto Club Speedway -- he stole an entire race. Benefitting from a four-tire call on the last lap of regulation and two opportune cautions that extended the event nine laps beyond its scheduled distance, Keselowski passed polesitter Kurt Busch on the final lap (209) and pulled away to win his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race of the season. Trying to make one last desperation run at Keselowski , Busch scraped the wall in the final corner at the two-mile track, allowing Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kevin Harvick to pass him for the runner-up spot. Keselowski arrived at the finish line .711 seconds ahead of Harvick, simultaneously taking the checkered flag and leading his first lap of the day. The 2012 champion, who led the series with six victories last year, recorded his first victory at Fontana -- and his first finish higher than 18th -- and the 17th of his career. "At the end, we caught some breaks, made the most of the breaks we caught," Keselowski said. "That was kind of the story of our race. It looked like we were probably going to finish sixth or seventh. That yellow came out (on Lap 185 for debris). We came in and pitted and drove up a little bit, then caught another yellow. Now what do we do? "So (crew chief) Paul (Wolfe) made the call to come down pit road and put four tires on. When he said that, I said, 'This can either go really good or really bad.' Didn't know which one it was going to be. Some guys stayed out, some guys took two tires, all different types of strategies on the restart. "We were able to find our way through the lanes and get to the front there, somehow end up in Victory Lane leading the last lap. Kind of a race car driver's dream. This is one we're going to sit back and go 'Wow!' for a while." Keselowski can call it a break, but it was theft, pure and simple. Aside from a stretch before the halfway point where Denny Hamlin got out front in clean air and led 56 laps, the cars of Busch and Harvick dominated the race, leading 65 and 34 laps, respectively. But Keselowski ’s Wolfe made what turned out to be the winning call on Lap 200, after NASCAR called the sixth caution of the race because of debris in Turn 4. Opting for four new tires, where the vast majority of the field took right sides only for track position, Keselowski restarted 18th on the first attempt at a green-white-checkered-flag finish on Lap 203. The No. 2 Fusion quickly moved forward. When Kyle Larson lost his bumper cover during a melee on the restart, NASCAR threw caution No. 7, and by then, Keselowski was already up to seventh place. Using the new tires to full advantage, Keselowski shot into second place like a lightning bolt after a green-white-checkered restart on Lap 208. As Greg Biffle crashed on the frontstretch on the white-flag lap, Keselowski rocketed past Busch off Turn 2 and pulled away for the win. Busch came home third, followed by Richard Childress Racing teammates Paul Menard and Ryan Newman . Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Joey Logano , Martin Truex Jr ., Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon completed the top 10. Having won at Las Vegas and Phoenix in the previous two races, Harvick fell one position shy of completing a sweep of NASCAR's three-race West Coast swing, but he could commiserate with Busch, who was trying to win for the first time this season after serving a three-race suspension. "I hate that the 41 (Busch) wasn't able to hold on for the win there," said Harvick, who posted his eighth straight top-two finish, dating to last year, and extended his series lead over Logano to 28 points. "I would have loved to see those guys get their first win. "But you never know how the strategy is going to play out here. There's so many cars on the lead lap, you didn't want to get buried in there (by taking four tires). One little bad move for Brad, he would have been stuck in the middle of that traffic. But it all worked out for him. The second restart, he was in prime position up on the outside with fresh tires." Busch was disappointed but philosophical about the result. "It was a solid day," Busch said. "I don't know what we could have done different. We just got pinned in by the yellows and the sequence at the end on which tires we needed to have to optimize how many laps were left. "We had two tires; Keselowski had four. We didn't need that extra yellow at the end. That last restart, I just didn't get the job done, and I just got out muscled by Keselowski ." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today All-time consecutive top-two finishes Streak Driver Year 11 Richard Petty 1975 10 Richard Petty 1971 10 Richard Petty 1967 9 Richard Petty 1964 8 Kevin Harvick 2014-15 8 David Pearson 1968
Brad Keselowski takes the lead on the final lap of a Green, White, Checkered finish to win the Auto Club 400.
Brad Keselowski talks about the wild finish to the Auto Club 400 and the gutsy call made by Paul Wolfe to take four tires at the end of the race.
Brad Keselowski celebrates in Victory Lane after winning his first race at Auto Club Speedway.
Jon Housholder recaps the Auto Club 400 as Brad Keselowski makes a late race charge to pull off an upset win at Auto Club Speedway.
Brad Keselowski talks about Paul Wolfe's decision to take four tires on the final pit stop, which led to a Fontana victory.
Brad Keselowski loses his engine. Jamie McMurray and Ryan Newman make contact while trying to navigate the smoke from the No. 2 car.
Rash of late cautions derailed No. 2 team's Phoenix plan RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings AVONDALE, Ariz. -- With Kevin Harvick 's desert dominance on everyone's mind, strategy plays were the tactic of choice to potentially break up his monopoly. The No. 2 team of Brad Keselowski tried its hand with two such ploys, but it ultimately wasn't enough with how the cautions fell in the CampingWorld.com 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday. Keselowski finished sixth, while Harvick won his second straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race of the season and fourth straight at the 1-mile oval. Afterward, Keselowski lamented the fact that Chevrolet teams seem to have a little more speed than the other manufacturers right now. "We just didn't quite have enough speed," Keselowski said. "I thought we were about a third- or fourth-place car and got shuffled to finish where we did. It was a great effort. We have to keep working to find more speed. There are a lot of Chevys up there and we need to get our Fords running a tiny bit better." Team Penske 's No. 2 crew made two crucial strategy calls during the race. One worked out well, while circumstances disrupted the other. A caution on Lap 117 saw all the front-runners come down pit road, and Keselowski and crew chief Paul Wolfe decided to take two tires. That lifted the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion from fourth place to the lead. From there the 31-year-old was out front for 52 laps -- 41 more than he had led in the season's previous three events. Through three races last year, Keselowski had led 69 laps and already had a race win to his credit. "We had that one run where we got out to the lead and led like 50 laps which was second to Harvick, that is something here," Keselowski said. Keselowski gave up the lead for good on Lap 171, but spent the next 50-plus laps in the top three. During his pit stop after the race's seventh caution on Lap 227, Keselowski shook up the strategy some more. This time, pitting from third place, Wolfe and Co. elected to put on four tires. The No. 2 restarted in 17th place on Lap 234, with the hope being a lengthy green-flag run would aid their chances of getting back to the front. However, three more cautions came out between the Lap 234 restart and the finish of the race, allowing drivers on older tires to keep track position near the front. Keselowski rose as high as fifth place on Lap 289, but fell back to sixth by the checkered flag as a surging Kurt Busch slipped past him for the final spot in the top five. "Everybody was on a different strategy it seemed, and it didn't quite pan out for us to get the third or fourth we deserved but we ran really well," Keselowski said. For the first time all season, Keselowski led more laps in a race than Team Penske teammate Joey Logano . And despite leading 35 circuits himself, Keselowski's younger teammate was direct in his assessment about whose car had the upper hand. "Brad had the better car, for sure," Logano said after his eighth-place finish. "The finishing order kind of showed that." For Keselowski , the sixth-place result continued his upward trajectory for the season as he has improved on his finish in each race. After a crash in the season-opening Daytona 500 led to his day ending early and a 41st-place result, he has rolled off three consecutive top-10s with a ninth-place finish at Atlanta and a seventh-place finish at Las Vegas. The Phoenix finish also saw him rise seven spots in the point standings. Still, unlike last year, when the No. 2 crew came out firing with a win and three straight top-three finishes, something seems to be lacking in the early going. Keselowski said he knows exactly what it is. "We just have to find some more speed," he said. "That is the common theme." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
On Sunday afternoon, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship contender Brad Keselowski played a game of cat-and-mouse with his competitors en route to his dramatic overtime win at Talladega Superspeedway that secured an automatic berth in the upcoming Eliminator 8 Round.