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Keselowski powers to Nationwide win at Kansas

NASCAR
Saturday, October 08, 2011

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Brad Keselowski
Getty Images for NASCAR
Driving a No. 22 Dodge that felt as if it were on rails, Brad Keselowski dominated Saturday's Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway to win his fourth Nationwide Series race of the year and the 16th of his career.

The reigning series champion passed runner-up Carl Edwards with just more than 13 laps left and pulled away to win by 2.795 seconds. Elliott Sadler ran third, followed by Paul Menard and Nationwide points leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Keselowski had a 10-second lead over Menard when the engine in Josh Wise's Chevrolet exploded on Lap 142. The No. 22 Dodge hit pit road for tires and fuel and quickly stretched out his lead.

But when Angela Cope spun and hit the Turn 2 wall on Lap 173, Edwards was able to grab the lead to the inside after a restart on Lap 179. His advantage didn't last. Keselowski moved past Edwards to the inside on Lap 187 and pulled away for the win.

From Keselowski's perspective, the winning pass was anything but a foregone conclusion.

"The first few laps that I was behind him, I was pushing so bad in his air that I had some serious doubts," Keselowski said. "I go back to last week at Dover in the [Sprint] Cup car. In the last segment, we restarted 21st or something like that, drove through the lapped cars, and I ran down the lead pack from a straightaway behind in about four laps -- I was three or four tenths [of a second] a lap faster.

"Then I caught the back half of the field and slowed down three or fourth tenths of a second in the dirty air. I was thinking about that the whole time I was behind Carl there, and I was like, 'Oh, my God, this is going to be another one of those days.' But I was able to move my line around and find clean air."

Keselowski may have had his doubts. Edwards -- not so much.

"Brad's car was so fast," Edwards said. "I knew after about 30 laps that, unless something happened, we were going to be racing pretty hard for second place. Fortunately, there at the end, I did get a chance to race with him a little bit."

As it turned out, not for long.

Keselowski was the clear class of the field in the first half of the race. On successive green-flag runs, he opened leads of seven, five and four seconds before cautions bunched the field. Keselowski led Sadler by 3.785 seconds when NASCAR called the fourth caution of the race on Lap 86 for Timmy Hill's blown engine.

Keselowski, who had stayed out under the previous yellow, came to pit road for fuel and four tires on Lap 88 but stalled his car in his pit box because of a miscommunication between driver and crew on when to leave the stall.

"My fault," Keselowski radioed after the mistake. "I wasn't ready when you dropped the jack."

Keselowski restarted 14th on Lap 96. Six laps later, he was back in the lead, blowing past Aric Almirola for the top spot on Lap 101.

Stenhouse leads Sadler by 20 points in the series standings with four races left in the season.

Reed Sorenson, driving Randy MacDonald's No. 82 Dodge after his sudden ouster from the No. 32 Turner Motorsports Chevy earlier in the week, ran 26th, two laps down. He remains third in points but fell from 49 to 70 behind Stenhouse.

With his runner-up finish in the No. 60 Ford, Edwards trimmed the lead of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota to seven points in the owners' standings.

Danica Patrick finished 15th, her best result since finishing 10th at Daytona in July.

Results

FIN ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 2 22 Brad Keselowski Dodge Discount Tire 0 200 Running
2 1 60 Carl Edwards Ford Fastenal 0 200 Running
3 12 2 Elliott Sadler Chevrolet OneMain Financial 41/0 200 Running
4 4 33 Paul Menard Chevrolet Rheem / Menards 0 200 Running
5 9 6 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford RickyVsTrevor.com 39/0 200 Running
6 19 4 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Hunt Brothers Pizza 0 200 Running
7 8 18 Joey Logano Toyota GameStop 0 200 Running
8 14 32 Brian Vickers Chevrolet Dollar General 0 200 Running
9 17 16 Trevor Bayne Ford RickyVsTrevor.com 35/0 200 Running
10 3 20 Ryan Truex * Toyota Martin Truex Jr. Foundation 34/0 200 Running
11 21 31 Justin Allgaier Chevrolet Brandt 33/0 200 Running
12 7 88 Aric Almirola Chevrolet Degree Men Adrenaline Series 33/1 200 Running
13 10 38 Jason Leffler Chevrolet Great Clips 32/1 200 Running
14 6 70 David Stremme Chevrolet Foretravel Motorcoach 0 200 Running
15 15 7 Danica Patrick Chevrolet GoDaddy.com 29/0 200 Running
16 25 62 Michael Annett Toyota Pilot Flying J 28/0 200 Running
17 5 11 Brian Scott Toyota Shore Lodge 27/0 200 Running
18 28 30 James Buescher Chevrolet Sporting Kansas City 0 200 Running
19 11 09 Kenny Wallace Toyota Family Farmers 25/0 200 Running
20 16 66 Steve Wallace Toyota 5-Hour Energy 24/0 199 Running
21 13 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota AMFMEnergy.com / Sutherlands 23/0 199 Running
22 23 19 Mike Bliss Chevrolet Spirit Halloween 22/0 199 Running
23 27 51 Jeremy Clements Chevrolet RepairableVehicles.com 22/1 199 Running
24 32 01 Mike Wallace Chevrolet I Hate Steven Singer 20/0 199 Running
25 18 81 Blake Koch * Dodge Daystar.com 19/0 198 Running
26 24 182 Reed Sorenson Dodge K-Love 18/0 198 Running
27 33 89 Morgan Shepherd Chevrolet Victory In Jesus / Able EMS 17/0 198 Running
28 37 52 Kevin Lepage Chevrolet RepairableVehicles.com / Crowne Plaza 16/0 197 Running
29 41 39 Joey Gase Ford Go Green Racing 0 196 Running
30 39 28 Derrike Cope Dodge Maxelence 14/0 193 Running
31 36 14 Eric McClure Chevrolet Sam's Club / Hefty BlackOut / Reynolds 13/0 188 Running
32 42 23 Angela Cope Chevrolet MillenniumSpaSalon.com / blkbeverages.com 0 167 Accident
33 40 40 Josh Wise Chevrolet Cajun Industries 11/0 138 Engine
34 31 15 Timmy Hill * Ford Poynt 10/0 87 Engine
35 35 171 Matthew Carter Ford Rick Ware Racing 9/0 18 Susp.
36 22 103 Scott Riggs Chevrolet North Texas Pipe 8/0 13 Overheating
37 38 175 Carl Long Ford Rick Ware Racing 7/0 13 Rear Gear
38 34 141 Johnny Chapman Chevrolet Rick Ware Racing 6/0 12 Vibration
39 26 146 Chase Miller Chevrolet Curtis Key Plumbing 5/0 10 Ignition
40 30 147 Charles Lewandoski * Chevrolet Curtis Key Plumbing 4/0 5 Vibration
41 20 44 Jeff Green Chevrolet TriStar Motorsports 3/0 3 Vibration
42 29 150 T.J. Bell Chevrolet Liberty Tire Recycling / Pinnacle Rubber Mulch 0 3 Vibration
43 43 127 J.J. Yeley Ford 31-W Insulation 0 2 Electrical

* Denotes Rookie

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