Keeping Pace

Keselowski Capitalizes On Busch's Misfortune To Win Nationwide Series Race At Dover

Brad Keselowski takes the checkered flag in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Heluva Good! 200 Saturday at Dover International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images)  (Chris Trotman / The Spokesman-Review)
Brad Keselowski takes the checkered flag in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Heluva Good! 200 Saturday at Dover International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images) (Chris Trotman / The Spokesman-Review)

Brad Keselowski took the lead for the first time on the next-to-last lap of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race after Joey Logano ran into the back of Kyle Busch, his teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing, moments after a restart on Lap 199.

By Reid Spencer
Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service

DOVER, Del. -- Brad Keselowski finally caught a break.

Keselowski's good fortune came at the expense of continued bad luck to Kyle Busch, who failed to win Saturday's Heluva Good! 200 despite leading a race-high 108 of 200 laps at Dover International Speedway.

Keselowski took the lead for the first time on the next-to-last lap of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race after Logano ran into the back of Busch, his teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing, moments after a restart on Lap 199.

The contact sent Busch up the concrete racing surface at the Monster Mile and gave Keselowski the opening he needed.

A day after failing to qualify for Sunday's Sprint Cup race, Keselowski made a winner of JR Motorsports owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. when he powered his No. 88 Chevrolet past Logano's No. 20 Toyota through Turns 1 and 2 and crossed the finish line two laps later, .299 seconds ahead of the 19-year-old driver.

Clint Bowyer ran third behind Logano. Brian Vickers finished fourth, followed by Carl Edwards, who trimmed Busch's lead in the series standings to 40 points. Busch cut a tire during the incident with Logano and finished 17th.

Paul Menard, Scott Speed, Jason Leffler, Jason Keller and rookie Justin Allgaier completed the top 10. Leffler posted his seventh straight top-10 of the season and remained third in the standings.

"We had a great car, we put ourselves in position to win, we needed a break, and we caught a break," said Keselowski, who won his third NASCAR Nationwide Series race. "Don't feel guilty about it. Not one bit. I saw the 18 slow down and the 20 making a basic maneuver. I just saw a hole, went for the hole and I made it. I was there and ready for it, and it worked out."

Logano, who started from the pole and led 87 laps, took responsibility for the contact that cost his teammate the race.

"At the end I just screwed up," Logano said. "That's what happened. I got behind Kyle on the restart. Finally I got a good restart -- he'd been kicking my butt every restart, kicking my butt through the first corner. I was trying to stay right up on him. I wasn't going to make the move and dive down underneath him into the corner, because I figured he'd just blow my doors (off).

"So I wanted to stay with him through the first corner and try to make a move after that. I got right up on his bumper, and he went into (Turn) 1 and let up earlier than I thought he was going to, and I got in the back of him. It was completely my fault. There was no room for error at where I positioned my car right behind him."

Busch, who did not speak to the media after the race, said on his team radio, "I would just point out that we took care of him (Logano) about 10 times today. Could have wrecked him."

Busch was leading when debris from Scott Wimmer's blown right front tire caused the ninth and final caution of the race on Lap 193 and set up the two-lap run to the finish.

According to Jason Ratcliff, crew chief of Busch's No. 18 Toyota, there were mitigating circumstances.

"He (Busch) said he could feel the right front go down right as he was coming to the green," Ratcliff said. "He wasn't sure if it was down or not, and then right as he drove off (Turn 4) he could feel it, and it was too late by that time. If he had known it earlier, we could have stopped and put right sides on. But, it was at the point of no return where you're driving off into the corner and you say 'Okay, I don't have a right front tire here.'  So, he did a great job just to bring it back from that. 

"So, he was trying to back his corner up to keep from knocking the wall down, and when he did the 20 got into him. It wasn't Joey's fault. It was just one of those things where everything lined up and turned into a bad deal all in a split second. If we would have known it under caution we could have stopped, but he (Kyle Busch) didn't know it until it was too late. It's one of them deals. Joey did a fine job."




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Keeping Pace

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




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