Keselowski wins Nationwide race at Watkins Glen|
Watkins Glen, NY (Sports Network) - Brad Keselowski claimed his fourth
consecutive Nationwide Series win by outrunning his Penske Racing teammate
and pole sitter Sam Hornish Jr. in Saturday's Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen
All three Penske drivers -- Keselowski, Hornish and Joey Logano -- combined
for 73 laps led in this 82-lap race. Keselowski, the defending Sprint Cup
Series champion and 2010 Nationwide titleholder, ran in front the most with
46 laps, including the final 17. He crossed the finish line 1.4 seconds ahead
Driving the No. 22 Penske Racing Ford, Keselowski won at Richmond (April 26),
Kentucky (June 28) and Iowa (one week ago) prior to Watkins Glen. He also
scored his 24th career victory in NASCAR's second-tier series.
"It's just so much fun to drive a car when they're that fast and you know
they're going to be that fast," Keselowski said. "It's just a matter of
getting through all of the drama during a race weekend to persevere for a win.
We did that today. Everyone on the team did a great job. We had three really
fast Penske cars today. Sam ran really well. I thought he was going to beat
me. He's a heck of a road-course racer. An awesome day for Penske Racing."
It's the first time in five Nationwide starts that Keselowski has won at
Watkins Glen. He finished second to Carl Edwards in last year's race here.
Keselowski also has finished second to Marcos Ambrose in the previous two
Sprint Cup events at this 2.45-mile course.
A.J. Allmendinger drove the No. 22 car to victory in the first road-course
race this season on June 22 at Road America. The series will run its final
event on a road course next week at Mid-Ohio, and Allmendinger is scheduled to
drive that car there.
If Keselowski wins in his next Nationwide start, he will join Ryan Newman
(2005), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2002-04) and Mark Martin as those drivers who
scored victories in each of their five consecutive starts.
Hornish chased down Keselowski and ran right behind him in the closing laps,
but Hornish could not overtake Keselowski.
"I was over-driving the car to try and pressure Brad into making a mistake,
and I got him to drive into turn 1 hard a couple of times," Hornish said. "I
just wore my stuff out trying to do everything that I could do to figure out
how I could keep up with him and keep pressure on him."
Brian Vickers placed third, followed by Regan Smith, who hails from nearby
Cato, N.Y., and Elliott Sadler. Logano finished one lap behind in 21st after
running out of fuel with less than two laps to go.
Kyle Busch, who started on the outside pole, finished 24th after wrecking on
the opening lap. Busch bumped into the back of Hornish and spun around heading
into turn 1. Mike Wallace then slammed into the front end of his No. 54
Toyota. Busch returned to the track shortly after and finished the race five
Hornish's second-place run compared to a 12th-place finish for Austin Dillon
allowed Hornish to trim Dillon's lead from 14 points to just three. Smith
moved to within five points of the lead.
Parker Kligerman, Justin Allgaier, Cole Whitt, Nelson Piquet Jr. and Trevor
Bayne finished sixth through 10th, respectively.
08/10 18:46:10 ET