Keselowski holds off Hamlin for Nationwide win at Charlotte|
Concord, NC (Sports Network) - Brad Keselowski claimed his first Nationwide
Series win of the season on Saturday by taking the History 300 at Charlotte
With air temperatures soaring past 90 degrees and track temperatures reaching
well over 120 degrees, Keselowski conserved enough fuel in the late going and
then held off his fellow Sprint Cup Series competitor, Denny Hamlin, during
the closing laps for the victory.
Keselowski drove the final 73 laps around the 1.5-mile racetrack without
pitting. The Penske Racing driver grabbed the lead on lap 143 when he opted
not to pit while most of the other frontrunners came in for their final stops.
"The last 73 laps were the longest of my racing career," Keselowski's crew
chief, Jeremy Bullins, admitted after the 300-mile race at Charlotte had
Keselowski has now won 18 races in NASCAR's second-tier series, including two
at Charlotte. His first win at this track came in October 2010.
"Penske Racing does a great job with fuel mileage on their Dodges, and they
deserve a lot of credit for it," Keselowski said. "There's only so much you
can do as a driver, and a lot of it comes down to the car and what it needs.
Denny didn't let me save a lot of fuel, and he was running pretty hard."
Keselowski's most recent victory in the series came last November in the
season-finale at Homestead, FL.
Hamlin experienced an issue with his carburetor and fell one lap behind early
in the race, but rebounded nicely with a second-place run. He ended up
finishing 0.8 seconds behind Keselowski.
"We fought handling and just didn't have that good of a car today, but we were
able to make something of it," Hamlin said.
Kyle Busch finished third, while Kevin Harvick took the fourth spot. Harvick
dominated most of the race by leading 92 of 200 laps but faded at the end.
Elliott Sadler's fifth-place finish coupled with a 26th-place run for Ricky
Stenhouse Jr. allowed Sadler to trim Stenhouse's points lead from 28 to 13.
Stenhouse suffered a broken driveshaft and spent 21 laps in the garage for
Pole sitter Joey Logano placed sixth, followed by James Buescher, Justin
Allgaier, Sam Hornish Jr. and Joey Coulter, who made his first Nationwide
start. Coulter is a regular in the Camping World Truck Series.
Danica Patrick finished 13th after starting third, while Travis Pastrana wound
up five laps behind in 24th place.
Pastrana got loose coming out of turn four and spun around on the infield
grass for the first caution on lap six. He encountered a similar incident at
the same place on the track 55 laps later. Pastrana's frustrations at
Charlotte began earlier in the day when he spun during his qualifying run
and therefore had to start from the rear of the field.
05/26 19:10:32 ET