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Keselowski cruises to Nationwide win

NASCAR at Chicagoland
Saturday, September 17, 2011

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Brad Keselowski

A full schedule of double-duty driving didn’t hurt Brad Keselowski, who won Saturday’s Dollar General 300 Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway in a prelude to his debut Sunday in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

Keselowski won his third Nationwide race of the season and the 15th of his career, cruising to a decisive victory over Carl Edwards, whose chances at a victory evaporated when his No. 60 Ford ran out of fuel moments before a scheduled pit stop on Lap 124 of 200. zzzz

Polesitter Brian Scott came home third, followed by Aric Almirola and Sam Hornish Jr. in a race that saw 10 cars finish on the lead lap. Series points leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr. held the top spot in the standings with an eighth-place finish.

Keselowski, who qualified sixth for the Cup race before taking the green later in the afternoon, held a 10-second lead over Edwards after a round of green-flag pit stops late in the race and cruised through the final 30 laps.

"It’s a great booster to get a win before going into the Chase," Keselowski said. "It was great execution today. That’s what it takes to win right now. Our Dodges are fast, and today we just executed really well and did what it takes."

Asked what might carry over into Sunday’s Cup race, Keselowski said, "There’s always the confidence—that’s the biggest thing."

During the early and middle portions of the race, Keselowski and Edwards—the only Chase drivers in the field—took turns dominating.

Keselowski wrested the lead from Scott on Lap 2 and stayed out front—with the exception of one lap under caution—until Edwards passed him in traffic on Lap 90.

"I’m going to take every one of those freakin’ lapped cars and wreck ’em," Keselowski vented, after one of the back markers failed to give him a lane to pass and facilitated Edwards’ move to the lead.

By the time Keselowski made a green-flag pit stop for tires and fuel on Lap 115, Edwards had extended his advantage to three seconds. Edwards waited until Lap 124 to pit—one lap too long, as it turned out.

Edwards ran out of fuel on the way to his pit stall, and by the time the crew completed his service and his engine refired, he was nine seconds behind Keselowski and in fifth place when the cycle of stops was complete.

"They told me to pit, and I was coming down the back straightaway, and I ran out of fuel," Edwards said. "So it took us a little longer in the pits. The guys did a really good job of keeping it running and got us back out there, and then we had a really long green-flag run (131 laps).

"I think our car was fast enough. I would have really liked the opportunity to go up there and race Brad. We just didn’t get that caution."

Edwards immediately began to chip away at Keselowski’s advantage, narrowing the margin to 6.188 seconds by Lap 141. Later in the run, however, Edwards’ charge stalled, and on Lap 155, he was running third behind Keselowski and Scott, 5.635 seconds behind the leader.

Results

FIN ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 2 22 Brad Keselowski Dodge Discount Tire 0 200 Running
2 10 60 Carl Edwards Ford Fastenal 0 200 Running
3 1 11 Brian Scott Toyota Shore Lodge 42/1 200 Running
4 6 88 Aric Almirola Chevrolet Suave Men 40/0 200 Running
5 7 12 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Alliance Truck Parts 39/0 200 Running
6 5 2 Elliott Sadler Chevrolet OneMain Financial 38/0 200 Running
7 23 7 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet Air Hogs 0 200 Running
8 11 6 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford RickyVsTrevor.com 36/0 200 Running
9 3 33 Paul Menard Chevrolet Rheem / Menards 0 200 Running
10 12 32 Reed Sorenson Chevrolet Dollar General 34/0 200 Running
11 9 16 Trevor Bayne Ford RickyVsTrevor.com 33/0 199 Running
12 16 38 Jason Leffler Chevrolet Great Clips 33/1 199 Running
13 4 20 Ryan Truex * Toyota Martin Truex Jr. Foundation 31/0 199 Running
14 13 31 Justin Allgaier Chevrolet Brandt 30/0 198 Running
15 14 19 Mike Bliss Chevrolet U.S. Xpress 29/0 198 Running
16 19 62 Michael Annett Toyota Pilot Flying J 28/0 198 Running
17 15 09 Kenny Wallace Toyota Family Farmers 27/0 198 Running
18 17 66 Steve Wallace Toyota 5-Hour Energy 26/0 198 Running
19 8 18 Joey Logano Toyota Sport Clips 0 198 Running
20 21 01 Mike Wallace Chevrolet G&K Services 25/1 197 Running
21 18 51 Jeremy Clements Chevrolet Clements Racing Engines 23/0 197 Running
22 26 15 Timmy Hill * Ford Poynt 22/0 195 Running
23 32 39 Joey Gase Ford Go Green Racing 0 195 Running
24 25 87 Kevin Conway Toyota Extenze 0 195 Running
25 41 14 Eric McClure Chevrolet Hefty BlackOut / Reynolds 19/0 195 Running
26 20 70 David Stremme Chevrolet Foretravel Motorcoach 0 195 Running
27 24 52 Blake Koch * Dodge Daystar.com 17/0 195 Running
28 42 89 Morgan Shepherd Chevrolet Victory In Jesus 16/0 194 Running
29 36 23 Robert Richardson Jr. Chevrolet North Texas Pipe 15/0 193 Running
30 29 81 Scott Wimmer Dodge K-Love 14/0 180 Running
31 33 40 Josh Wise Chevrolet Key Motorsports 13/0 152 Susp.
32 39 28 Derrike Cope Chevrolet Maxelence 12/0 131 Engine
33 22 30 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet Rexall 0 65 Accident
34 28 171 Matthew Carter Ford Lilly Trucking of Virginia 10/0 22 Vibration
35 34 49 Mark Green Chevrolet Acredale Vending 9/0 19 Overheating
36 30 103 Scott Riggs Chevrolet North Texas Pipe 8/0 15 Ignition
37 38 175 Carl Long Ford RaceCash.com / Lilly Trucking of Virginia 7/0 15 Handling
38 27 141 Johnny Chapman Chevrolet Rick Ware Racing 6/0 13 Overheating
39 43 104 Danny O'Quinn Jr. Ford BBI Waste Industries / Go Green Racing 5/0 13 Electrical
40 40 146 Chase Miller Chevrolet Key Motorsports 4/0 10 Ignition
41 35 248 Dennis Setzer Chevrolet Jay Robinson Inc. 0 9 Vibration
42 31 127 J.J. Yeley Ford TBA 0 4 Vibration
43 37 150 T.J. Bell Chevrolet Liberty Tire Recycling / Pinnacle Rubber Mulch 0 2 Engine

* Denotes Rookie

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