After a late caution turned a runaway into a challenge for Brad Keselowski, a late four-tire call proved decisive, as Keselowski stormed to the front from fourth place during a green-white-checkered-flag finish to win Friday night's Bubba Burger 250 Nationwide Series race at Richmond International Raceway.
Keselowski, who led 189 of 252 laps, had an advantage of almost two seconds when Paul Menard slammed the Turn 2 wall on Lap 245 of a scheduled 250 at the .75-mile short track.
"I'm coming," Keselowski radioed to crew chief Paul Wolfe, steering his car toward pit road for a four-tire stop.
Kyle Busch and Justin Allgaier stayed out on old tires, while Jamie McMurray and Greg Biffle each took two. Busch led the field to green on Lap 251 with Allgaier beside him, McMurray on the inside of the second row and Keselowski alongside in fourth.
Biffle surged forward from the fifth spot, and by the time the cars reached Turn 3 on the next-to-last lap, Keselowski and Biffle had separated themselves from the pack. A lap later, Keselowski passed to the inside and ultimately crossed the finish line .261 seconds ahead of Biffle.
McMurray finished third, Busch fourth and Carl Edwards fifth. Keselowski extended his series lead to 59 points over seventh-place finisher Kevin Harvick.
The victory was Keselowski's second in as many weeks to go with last Sunday's victory at Talladega Superspeedway.
"That's what you pay me to do, R.P.," Keselowski radioed to team owner Roger Penske after powering his No. 22 Dodge across the finish line.
"Man, this is awesome to watch you, Brad," Penske replied.
Keselowski and Wolfe's decision to pit for tires proved to be the winning move.
"If we lost this race, and I didn't take tires, I'd be so mad," said Keselowski, who won for the eighth time in the series. "We came down pit road and got those tires and made the right move on Greg on the last lap, and it all worked out."
Busch started from the pole but couldn't hold Keselowski off on old or new tires.
"We didn't have the car tonight," Busch said. "We just didn't have anything for the 22 tonight. He was stellar."
Keselowski and Busch were the class of the field for the first 100 laps. Busch started from the pole and stayed out front for 58 laps, before Keselowski nosed ahead at the start/finish line on Lap 59.
By the time Scott Lagasse's blown right front tire necessitated the third caution of the race on Lap 95, Keselowski had opened a lead of more than five seconds over Busch and had reduced the number of cars on the lead lap to 16.
From that point on, though, it remained Keselowski's race. He surrendered the lead only once the rest of the way—when he pitted for the four tires before the final restart.
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