JOLIET, Ill. (AP) -- Brad Keselowski raced to an impressive victory in the opening race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup, outdueling five-time champion Jimmie Johnson at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday.
Keselowski led after a crucial pit cycle with about 35 laps remaining in the 400-mile race, and held on comfortably from there for his first victory in a Chase race. He also takes over the points lead.
Kasey Kahne was third. All 12 of the Chase drivers finished in the top 18, with the exception of Jeff Gordon, who went into the wall with about 80 laps remaining. Gordon barely qualified for the Chase to begin with, and his championship hopes are already in serious jeopardy.
It's Keselowski's fourth victory of the season. He leads Johnson by three points.