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Keeping Pace

Michigan-native Brad Keselowski Wins With A Last-Laps Pass

With Kyle Busch and Brian Vickers battling on the bottom of the track, Brad Keselowski took advantage of the outside line to pass both drivers on the final lap at Michigan International Speedway


Courtesy: NASCAR Media Relations

BROOKLYN, Mich. (Aug. 15, 2009) — Hometown boy Brad Keselowski took advantage of a pitched battle between Kyle Busch and polesitter Brian Vickers — one that continued after Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series’ Carfax 250 race — to win for the third time in 2009.

With Busch and Vickers battling on the bottom of the track, Keselowski took advantage of the outside line to pass both drivers on the final lap at Michigan International Speedway, with Vickers finishing second and Busch third in a race that stretched Busch’s lead in the series standings to 339 points over Carl Edwards.
 
“I saw ’em bobble in (Turns) 3 and 4 there at the one-to-go, and I had ’em,” said Keselowski, who grew up in Rochester Hills, Mich. “I knew it. I knew I could get to the outside and kill the 32 (Vickers). I wasn’t sure about the 18 (Busch) — I don’t know what happened to him.

“Oh, my God, I won at home! I’m speechless. I can’t believe it. I’m terrible here, and to win here is a major accomplishment. … It’s so cool to win in front of your home fans, and I thank all of them that came out tonight.”

Vickers led Busch into Turn 3 on the next-to-last lap and slipped in the corner. Busch drove to the inside, and Vickers side-drafted the No. 18 Toyota and forced him down onto the apron as the cars roared out of Turn 4. With momentum to the outside, Keselowski made it three-wide as the cars took the white flag for the final lap.

Keselowski crossed the finish line .199 seconds ahead of Vickers, with Busch a close third. David Ragan and Kevin Harvick finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

Busch took issue with the way Vickers had raced him on the final two laps and confronted him on pit road after the race.

“Oh, man, I am so sorry — I forgot it was the Kyle Busch show,” Vickers said sarcastically, after climbing from his car. “Hell, I thought we were racing for a win. … I thought it was my job to hold him off. Apparently not. He came over to the car after we came in and knocked the fender in, which was unnecessary, and then started crying like a little baby.

“I asked him if he’d give me a minute to get out, and we could talk about it like men. If he wanted to fight, that was fine with me. When I got out, he ran off. It’s a shame that it went down like that. We were racing hard. I thought it was a good race. Congratulations to the 88 (Keselowski). He snuck around both of us. I didn’t see him coming.”

Busch thought Vickers should have given him room and let the two strongest cars battle for the win.

“It’s so frustrating that you can’t have a guy race you clean,” Busch said. “He was on our right rear quarter panel all the way down the front straightaway and gave the win to the 88 car. He slowed us down so much — he had no idea the 88 car was coming, and the 88 just drove right by both of us on the outside, because Brian Vickers was trying to slow both of us down. Just stupid.

“If he would have ran his own line up at the top of the track, and I had run my own line down at the bottom of the track, it could have been us two. But, unfortunately, you race with idiots, and I guess you’ll have that sometimes.”

An accident on Lap 3 put a damper on Edwards’ 30th birthday celebration. Edwards was three-wide on the outside in Turn 2 with Trevor Bayne in the middle and Brad Coleman on the bottom when contact between Edwards’ Ford and Bayne’s Toyota sent Edwards into the marbles at the top of the track.

Edwards fought to regain control, but the cars touched again and Edwards slammed nose-first into the outside wall. The impact eliminated the No. 60 Ford from the race — the first time Edwards has failed to finish a NASCAR Nationwide Series event since May 2008 at Darlington.

“I saw the replay, and it definitely looks like I didn’t give Trevor enough room,” said Edwards, who held second place in the standings but lost touch with Busch, the leader. “I drove in and kind of pinched him down.”

Notes: When Busch passed Vickers for the lead off Turn 4 on Lap 14, Busch extended his streak of NASCAR Nationwide Series races led to 20, advancing the record 19 he had shared with Sam Ard. … Busch’s record streak of finishing either first or second in Nationwide Series races ended at 10.


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Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.

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