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Keselowski wins at Homestead

Stenhouse clinches Nationwide title
Sunday, November 20, 2011

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Brad Keselowski leads
Getty Images for NASCAR
Polesitter Brad Keselowski may have won Saturday’s Ford 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but Roush Fenway Racing had a better night, winning two Nationwide Series championships in one race.

Keselowski held off a furious charge from series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. on the final lap to secure his fifth victory of the season and the 17th of his career.

Third-place finisher Carl Edwards clinched the owners’ championship for Roush Fenway, leading the most laps and finishing two positions ahead of Denny Hamlin’s No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, which entered the race with a one-point lead.

"What an effort, champion," spotter Mike Calinoff radioed to Stenhouse after Keselowski blocked a last-ditch attempt at a pass.

Keselowski, the 2010 Nationwide champion and current Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifier, wasn’t allowed to defend his title under a NASCAR rule—new this year—that prevents a driver from competing for a championship in more than one series.

"You couldn’t ask for a better way to end the season," Keselowski said. "Not being able to win the championship, it’s good to be able to finish on a high note, winning the pole and the race at Homestead. It’s a great exclamation point to the season for the whole team."

Long before Keselowski crossed the finish line, however, Stenhouse, 24, clinched the Nationwide Series championship. When the number of cars retired from the race reached six on Lap 28 of 200, Stenhouse was guaranteed the 37th-place finish he needed to lock up the title.

As it turned out, he ran much better than that.

"That was all I had," Stenhouse said of the final lap. "I was really hoping for one more lap there, but Brad did a good job. I got a little loose there coming off (Turn) 4, or I thought we could have got him. But the (No. 6) Mustang did its job at Ford championship weekend.

"This is a dream come true."

The title in hand, Stenhouse stepped up his effort as the race unfolded. After the sixth caution, for Steve Wallace’s spin in Turn 1, Stenhouse passed fourth-place finisher Clint Bowyer for the lead on Lap 155 and began to pull away. But teammate Trevor Bayne scraped the wall and cut his right rear tire to put the field under yellow again on Lap 174.

Pit stops under caution shuffled the field, and a problem with lug nuts on the right rear tire dropped Edwards back to sixth. Moments after a restart on Lap 180, however, Edwards rocketed into second place and went on to secure the owners’ championship for the No. 60 Ford.

Keselowski grabbed the lead on that same restart and stayed out front until Reed Sorenson’s spin in Turn 2 slowed the field for the eighth time.

Edwards passed Keselowski for the top spot on a Lap 187 restart, but the race didn’t stay green for long. Separate incidents on Lap 188 involving Danica Patrick and Kenny Wallace brought out the ninth caution, and Edwards led the field back to green on Lap 194, before Keselowski made the winning pass shortly after the restart.

Patrick qualified 12th, fought a tight car early while the sun was out, then a loose ride once that sun went down. She spent most of the night hovering around the 15th position and moved into the top 10 briefly.

But with 10 laps to go, while running 17th, she lost control of her Chevy and slapped the wall after admittedly overarcing through the middle of Turns 1 and 2. It was her second-worst finish of the year, trailing her only other DNF of the season, a 33rd-place finish at Bristol in March.

Results

FIN ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 1 22 Brad Keselowski Dodge Discount Tire 0 200 Running
2 4 6 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford Blackwell Angus Beef 43/1 200 Running
3 3 60 Carl Edwards Ford Fastenal / Wypall 0 200 Running
4 6 33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Rheem Heating, Cooling & Water Heating 0 200 Running
5 7 18 Denny Hamlin Toyota Z-Line Designs 0 200 Running
6 2 2 Elliott Sadler Chevrolet OneMain Financial 39/1 200 Running
7 13 12 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Alliance Truck Parts 38/1 200 Running
8 10 88 Aric Almirola Chevrolet Grand Touring Vodka 36/0 200 Running
9 11 11 Brian Scott Toyota Shore Lodge 35/0 200 Running
10 9 20 Joey Logano Toyota GameStop 0 200 Running
11 8 16 Trevor Bayne Ford Ford. Drive One. / Ford Mustang 34/1 200 Running
12 14 38 Jason Leffler Chevrolet Great Clips 32/0 200 Running
13 5 31 Justin Allgaier Chevrolet Brandt 31/0 200 Running
14 19 32 James Buescher Chevrolet Dollar General 0 200 Running
15 21 70 David Stremme Chevrolet Foretravel Motorcoach 0 200 Running
16 22 97 Joe Nemechek Toyota AMFMEnergy.com / Pellet & Wood Stoves 28/0 200 Running
17 17 19 Mike Bliss Chevrolet Bruvado 27/0 200 Running
18 29 51 Jeremy Clements Chevrolet Clements Racing Engines 26/0 200 Running
19 15 62 Michael Annett Toyota Pilot Flying J 26/1 200 Running
20 31 01 Mike Wallace Chevrolet I Hate Steven Singer 24/0 200 Running
21 33 15 Timmy Hill * Ford Poynt / Lilly Trucking of Virginia 23/0 200 Running
22 37 23 Robert Richardson Jr. Chevrolet TiaRosa Tortillas / Takis Fuego 22/0 200 Running
23 18 81 Blake Koch * Chevrolet Daystar.com 21/0 199 Running
24 35 30 Nelson Piquet Jr. Chevrolet "Bienvenidos a NASCAR" 0 198 Running
25 23 182 Reed Sorenson Dodge Foametix / Bullet Liner 19/0 198 Running
26 36 87 Kevin Conway Toyota Extenze 0 198 Running
27 20 104 Casey Roderick Ford Go Green Racing 17/0 198 Running
28 40 40 T.J. Duke Chevrolet Curtis Key Plumbing 0 198 Running
29 34 14 Eric McClure Chevrolet Hefty BlackOut / Reynolds 15/0 197 Running
30 42 28 Derrike Cope Dodge Maxelence 14/0 195 Running
31 32 141 Stanton Barrett Chevrolet Barcode Media / MyBrokenPalace.com 13/0 194 Running
32 12 7 Danica Patrick Chevrolet GoDaddy.com 12/0 190 Accident
33 16 09 Kenny Wallace Toyota Federated Auto Parts 11/0 187 Accident
34 27 66 Steve Wallace Toyota 5-Hour Energy 10/0 146 Accident
35 41 52 Kevin Lepage Chevrolet Sunshine Plumbing Supplies 9/0 136 Rear Gear
36 24 167 Andrew Ranger Ford Go Canada Racing 8/0 91 Accident
37 30 103 Scott Riggs Chevrolet McKinney Pipe & Steel 7/0 15 Overheating
38 43 146 Chase Miller Chevrolet Curtis Key Plumbing 6/0 10 Rear Gear
39 25 147 Josh Wise Chevrolet Curtis Key Plumbing 5/0 4 Electrical
40 28 171 Matthew Carter Chevrolet Rick Ware Racing 4/0 4 Vibration
41 26 142 Scott Speed Chevrolet Curtis Key Plumbing 3/0 3 Overheating
42 38 39 Fain Skinner Ford Carport Empire 2/0 2 Accident
43 39 89 Morgan Shepherd Chevrolet Victory In Jesus 1/0 1 Engine

* Denotes Rookie

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