Keselowski steals win from Stenhouse Jr. at LOR|
Clermont, IN (Sports Network) - Brad Keselowski won Saturday night's Kroger
200 Nationwide Series race after passing Ricky Stenhouse Jr. for the lead in
the closing laps at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
Stenhouse Jr. started on the pole and dominated most of the race with 189 laps
led, but after a restart with a handful of laps to go, Keselowski grabbed the
top spot. The two bumped as they battled for position following the restart.
"We were both fighting for the middle, and we just rubbed a little bit,"
Keselowski said. "I didn't try to take him out. We were just racing hard."
The fifth caution for an accident involving Kevin Harvick Inc. teammates
Elliott Sadler and Austin Dillon set up a green-white-checkered finish.
Keselowski, the 2010 series champion, held off Stenhouse and James Buescher
during the two-lap overtime finish for his second win of the season and the
14th of his Nationwide career.
"We got a lot of good breaks today, and that's what it takes," Keselowski
said. "We know the Fords have a huge advantage on everybody else right now,
but everyone at Dodge and Penske Racing is fighting as hard as they can to
make up for that, and they're doing a heck of a job."
Stenhouse and Buescher battled for the second spot on the final lap. Both
drivers crossed the finish line at nearly the same time. Stenhouse was
originally listed as second, but after NASCAR officials reviewed the finish,
they awarded Buescher with the position. Stenhouse settled for third.
"It's frustrating," said Stenhouse, who was attempting to win his second
Nationwide race this season. "I've been working on my restarts all year, but
it got us tonight. Our car was pretty fast, but you couldn't say it was
dominant since we didn't win the race."
Buescher also finished second in Friday's Camping World Truck Series race at
Aric Almirola took the fourth spot, while Carl Edwards rebounded from a late-
race pit-road speeding penalty to finish fifth. Edwards won last weekend's
race at Nashville.
Keselowski and Carl Edwards were the only Sprint Cup Series regulars who
competed in this race. Earlier in the day, Keselowski qualified fifth for
Sunday's Brickyard 400 at nearby Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Edwards will
start 10th in that race.
Jason Leffler, Joe Nemechek, Drew Herring, Reed Sorenson and Michael McDowell
finished sixth through 10th, respectively.
The race ran relatively incident free until lap 175 when Steve Wallace,
Michael Annett and Tim Andrews crashed hard, forcing NASCAR to briefly halt
the event for track cleanup efforts.
Andrews and Annett made contact and then hit the wall. Just before their
encounter, Buescher tapped Wallace from behind and got him loose. Wallace then
slammed hard into the front of his teammate Annett before bumping into
"My spotter came on the radio and said, 'There's a crash in front of you,' and
at that time, James Buescher and I were racing hard for 15 to 20 laps,"
Wallace said. "I got underneath James and then cleared him. He bumped me a
little bit going into turn three. At the same time, my spotter said, 'Check
up, check up, check up.' I hit the brakes, and the car got sideways. It just
slid through the corner, and there was nothing I could do."
Stenhouse took over the points lead, moving three ahead of Sorenson. Sadler
fell 21 points behind after in 16th. Sadler had to start from the rear of the
42-car field due to a crash in qualifying.
Nationwide ran at LOR for the final time after competing at this 0.686-mile
track since 1982. Earlier this month, NASCAR announced that its second-tier
series will join Sprint Cup at IMS next year.
07/30 23:31:55 ET