ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here

Keeping Pace

Brad Keselowski saves fuel to win Nationwide race at Charlotte

Brad Keselowski's fuel lasted the final 73 laps at Charlotte Motor Speedway as he earned his 18th career victory on the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Keselowski netted over $46,000 for his first NASCAR Nationwide Series win of the 2012 season.


May 26, 2012

By Reid Spencer
NASCAR Wire Service

CONCORD, N.C. — Fuel miser Brad Keselowski got 73 laps out of his last tank of fuel and had enough left in the tank to outrun Denny Hamlin in Saturday's History 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway and do a celebratory burnout afterward.

The victory was Keselowski's first in the series this year and the 18th of his career. Hamlin crossed the finish line .838 seconds behind the 2010 Nationwide champion. Kyle Busch ran third, followed by Kevin Harvick and Elliott Sadler.

Busch said after the race that coaxing 73 laps out of his fuel cell would not have been a possibility. Though Keselowski declined to say how he saved enough gas, he did point to a fuel-economy advantage for this No. 22 Penske Dodge.

“The Dodge has been known for having a bit of a fuel-mileage advantage over the last season and a half,” Keselowski said. “I think there's other areas where we're slightly behind, being quite honest. And so, when you have an opportunity to maximize your advantage, that's what you've got to do.”

Keselowski pulled away after caution for an accident off Turn 2 on Lap 147 of 200, when Brian Scott and Cole Whitt hit a patch of oil and slammed into the inside wall. The victory was the first in the series for Keselowski's crew chief, Jeremy Bullins.

Pole-sitter Joey Logano took four tires during a pit stop on Lap 144, dropped from third to 15th when the rest of the contenders stopped for fuel only and came home sixth.

A broken driveshaft on Lap 66 sidelined series leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who spent 22 laps in the garage for repairs. Stenhouse finished 26th but retained his lead by 13 points over Sadler, with Austin Dillon (11th Saturday) in third place, 28 points back.

Danica Patrick finished 13th, despite falling a lap down when an early cycle of pit stops was interrupted by the third caution of the race — a blown engine in Angela Cope's Chevrolet.

Hamlin likewise dropped a lap early when his crew changed the carburetor on his No. 18 Toyota on pit road. Though Hamlin didn't think his car ever achieved sufficient straight-line speed, he was able to drive to the front after regaining the lost circuit as the highest-scored lapped car under caution for Travis Pastrana's spin off Turn 4 on Lap 60.

“I complained about the motor early — just didn't feel like it ran at the end of the straightaway for some odd reason,” Hamlin said. “I've been wondering where our speed was all weekend. We tried to change the carburetors, and that didn't fix it. Just got stuck 14th or so for a while until we got the handling (where) it was at least drivable, and then we were able to make our move to the front.

“We were good on long runs — just didn't have a lot of front-line speed. I have to get better at our race-day adjustments. I just feel like I'm sending our crew chief off in the wrong direction at the start of these races.”

Pastrana looped his No. 99 Toyota twice during the race after spinning on his qualifying lap and failing to post a time. The X-Games star finished 24th, five laps down.

The No. 41 Ford driven by 19th-place finisher Timmy Hill failed height-stick inspection after the race. The car was deemed too low in front. If NASCAR imposes penalties, they will come next week.

RACE RESULTS

1. (10) Brad Keselowski, Dodge, 200, $46,425.
2. (13) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 200, $40,725.
3. (12) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 200, $31,150.
4. (7) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 200, $29,925.
5. (6) Elliott Sadler, Chevrolet, 200, $29,793.
6. (1) Joey Logano, Toyota, 200, $27,500.
7. (8) James Buescher, Chevrolet, 200, $23,593.
8. (16) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 200, $22,643.
9. (5) Sam Hornish Jr., Dodge, 200, $21,918.
10. (21) Joey Coulter, Chevrolet, 200, $15,825.
11. (2) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 200, $21,843.
12. (20) Mike Bliss, Toyota, 200, $19,993.
13. (3) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 200, $22,168.
14. (22) Michael Annett, Ford, 200, $18,968.
15. (19) Mike Wallace, Chevrolet, 200, $19,793.
16. (23) Reed Sorenson, Ford, 200, $11,925.
17. (14) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 200, $11,700.
18. (25) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 199, $17,943.
19. (24) Timmy Hill, Ford, 199, $17,868.
20. (28) Tayler Malsam, Toyota, 198, $18,393.
21. (34) Casey Roderick, Chevrolet, 198, $17,668.
22. (26) Johanna Long, Chevrolet, 198, $17,618.
23. (31) Kyle Fowler, Ford, 196, $17,568.
24. (42) Travis Pastrana, Toyota, 195, $17,503.
25. (36) Joey Gase, Chevrolet, 193, $11,475.
26. (4) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 179, $18,533.
27. (37) Erik Darnell, Chevrolet, Accident, 176, $17,398.
28. (11) Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, 167, $17,363.
29. (29) Joe Nemechek, Toyota, 157, $17,318.
30. (39) TJ Bell, Chevrolet, Handling, 151, $11,105.
31. (9) Brian Scott, Toyota, Accident, 146, $17,263.
32. (18) Jeff Green, Toyota, Driveshaft, 141, $17,193.
33. (15) Jason Bowles, Toyota, Accident, 137, $17,148.
34. (17) Josh Richards, Ford, Accident, 134, $17,118.
35. (32) Danny Efland, Chevrolet, Brakes, 103, $17,088.
36. (35) Angela Cope, Chevrolet, Engine, 51, $10,600.
37. (43) Morgan Shepherd, Chevrolet, Electrical, 39, $10,575.
38. (40) Mike Harmon, Chevrolet, Overheating, 30, $10,556.
39. (41) Robert Richardson Jr., Chevrolet, Engine, 13, $10,435.
40. (38) Chase Miller, Chevrolet, Ignition, 10, $10,330.
41. (27) Josh Wise, Chevrolet, Ignition, 8, $10,295.
42. (30) Scott Speed, Chevrolet, Electrical, 5, $10,270.
43. (33) Kevin Lepage, Toyota, Vibration, 3, $10,209.

RACE STATISTICS

Average Speed of Race Winner: 123.414 mph.
Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 25 Mins, 51 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 0.838 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 7 for 38 laps.
Lead Changes: 12 among 7 drivers.
Lap Leaders: J. Logano 1-21; K. Harvick 22-54; J. Bowles 55; K. Harvick 56-58; K. Kahne 59-67; K. Harvick 68-110; J. Logano 111; J. Allgaier 112; M. Wallace 113-114; K. Harvick 115-127; J. Logano 128-131; K. Kahne 132-133; B. Keselowski 134-200.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): K. Harvick 4 times for 92 laps; B. Keselowski 1 time for 67 laps; J. Logano 3 times for 26 laps; K. Kahne 2 times for 11 laps; M. Wallace 1 time for 2 laps; J. Allgaier 1 time for 1 lap; J. Bowles 1 time for 1 lap.
Top 10 in Points: R. Stenhouse Jr. - 430; E. Sadler - 417; A. Dillon - 402; S. Hornish Jr. - 373; C. Whitt - 336; J. Allgaier - 336; M. Annett - 331; M. Bliss - 291; D. Patrick - 264; J. Nemechek - 262.


Please keep it civil. Don't post comments that are obscene, defamatory, threatening, off-topic, an infringement of copyright or an invasion of privacy. Read our forum standards and community guidelines.

You must be logged in to post comments. Please log in here or click the comment box below for options.

comments powered by Disqus
« Back to Keeping Pace

Get blog updates by email

About this blog

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

Latest comments »

Read all the posts from recent conversations on Keeping Pace.

Contributors

Doug Pace

Search this blog
Subscribe to this blog
ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here