Keselowski wins rain-shortened Nationwide race at Kentucky
Sparta, KY (Sports Network) - Brad Keselowski won Friday night's Nationwide
Series race at Kentucky Speedway after grabbing the lead from Elliott Sadler
just before rain fell on the track, shortening the event by 30 laps.
After taking four tires during the last round of pit stops under caution on
lap 144, Keselowski fell from first to eighth in the running order. He quickly
moved through the field following the restart on lap 147. Keselowski passed
Sadler for the lead on lap 156 and held it when rain began falling on this
relatively flat 1.5-mile track on lap 164.
The rain intensified after 170 laps were completed, forcing NASCAR to stop the
race. An attempt was made to dry the track, but another shower moved over the
area, which ended any chance of resuming the event.
Keselowski won the race from the 19th starting position.
"It certainly was a great race for us, but I didn't want it to end this way,"
said Keselowski, who led four times for a total of 59 laps. "We had a great
car and drove it to the front. Didn't qualify like we wanted. (Crew chief)
Jeremy Bullins and the (No. 22 Penske Racing) team did a great job. They've
been working so hard, and they deserve these results."
Last Saturday, A.J. Allmendinger drove the No. 22 car to victory in the road
course race at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.
Keselowski scored his second Nationwide win of the season and the 22nd of his
career. He also won a race in the series at Kentucky in July 2011.
On Thursday, Keselowski finished second to Ty Dillon in the Camping World
Truck Series event at this track. He is starting eighth in Saturday night's
400-mile Sprint Cup Series race here. Keselowski is the defending winner of
"We had a great run in winning last year's Cup race here, and winning today is
great and had a decent finish yesterday, so we've got as much momentum as I
know how to have going into tomorrow's event," Keselowski said.
Keselowski won five races during his championship season in Sprint Cup last
year but has yet to score a victory in the series in 2013.
Sadler finished second, while Matt Crafton, a Camping World Truck Series
regular, took the third spot. Brian Vickers and Kyle Busch rounded out the
top-five. Busch dominated the first half of the scheduled 300-mile race by
leading 74 laps. He overshot his pit stall during his last stop, which dropped
him to 13th in the field at the time.
Keselowski took the lead for the first time when he passed Busch on lap 94.
"I thought we had something really, really good early on, and then the 22
(Keselowski) was taking his time coming through traffic, and once he got
there, he was just stellar," Busch said. "He obviously had the best car."
Sam Hornish Jr.'s ninth-place finish coupled with a 30th-place run for Regan
Smith allowed Hornish to trim Smith's lead to just eight points. Smith
suffered a right-front suspension issue after 100 laps were completed and went
to the garage briefly for repairs. He returned 17 laps off of the pace.
Two weeks ago, Smith held a commanding 58-point lead when he won at Michigan.
His advantage was cut to 28 points after finishing 32nd at Road America. He
spun off course during the final lap there.
Austin Dillon, who won both Nationwide races at Kentucky last year, came up
short in his bid for a three-peat here with sixth-place finish. Dillon started
on the pole for the fifth time in the past six races. He led the first 18 laps
before Busch overtook him for the top spot.
Rookies Kyle Larson and Nelson Piquet Jr. were seventh and eighth,
respectively. Alex Bowman, also a rookie, placed 10th.
06/29 00:17:29 ET
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