August 8, 2011 in Sports

Keselowski takes Sprint Cup’s checkered flag

Dan Gelston Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Brad Keselowski does a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race.
(Full-size photo)

Brad Keselowski raced all 500 miles of Sunday’s Sprint Cup stop at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond., Pa., with a broken left ankle.

As if that wasn’t enough, he somehow managed to win, too.

Competing with a brace on his ankle, Keselowski sped off on the final restart late in the race to pick up his second victory of the season. He gingerly climbed out of his car to celebrate with his crew in Victory Lane.

“It doesn’t feel good, but I’ll be all right,” he said.

Keselowski was an unlikely winner after he crashed head-on into a wall on Wednesday during a test session at Road Atlanta. He slammed a section of wall at 100 mph and was forced out of the Nationwide Series race.

He insisted during practice this weekend he wouldn’t leave the No. 2 Dodge, no matter how much pain he was in.

Wasn’t necessary. Keselowski had some rest during a 1 hour, 40-minute rain delay.

“I was amazed he raced the full race,” third-place finisher Kurt Busch said.

Keselowski’s victory thrust him into prime position to claim one of two wild-card spots available for the Chase for the championship. The top two drivers with the most victories in 11th to 20th place earn a wild-card spot for the playoffs.

Keselowski, in 18th place, is the only one of the wild-card contenders with two victories. Only five races remain until the field is set. The top 10 drivers in the points standings automatically qualify.

Keselowski posted several updates on his injury this week on his Twitter page, including two photos that showed a swollen ankle and an abrasion on his foot. His broken left ankle ballooned to the size of a softball, and he needed a left shoe a size larger than his right one.

“There’s no good time, but this is certainly the worst time,” he said Friday.

No way. Keselowski won his third career Cup race and first since he won in June at Kansas.

Kyle Busch was second, Jimmie Johnson fourth and Ryan Newman fifth.

Kurt Busch and Johnson had a heated exchange after the race because of some last-lap contact and had to be separated by their crews. The star drivers took turns bumping into each other on the final lap. Kurt said it was simply hard racing and Johnson, the five-time defending Cup champion, overreacted.

“You want to race, let’s race,” Kurt said. “I raced him smart, raced him clean, and he wants to come back here and (complain) about it. Why can’t we race each other like this and put on a show for the fans?”

Trucks Series

Kevin Harvick stretched his fuel over extra laps and an extra day, breaking free on the green-white checkered finish to win the Trucks Series race on Sunday at Pocono Raceway.

Rain halted the event after 17 laps Saturday, so the race was squeezed in Sunday morning before the start of the Sprint Cup race.

Harvick started from the pole and his only concern was stretching his fuel two extra laps on the scheduled 50-lap race. He conserved fuel and did what he needed to do in his first Trucks victory of the season.

IndyCar

Pole-sitter Scott Dixon waited patiently before taking control 24 laps from the finish and then coasted to an easy victory over teammate Dario Franchitti in the IndyCar race at Mid-Ohio in Lexington.

Dixon, who dominated qualifying to capture his first pole of the season, stayed on rookie James Hinchcliffe’s tail until the Canadian finally pitted for the first time on lap 53. Dixon skirted a challenge from Franchitti and took command on lap 61 of the 85-lap race to pull away.

NHRA

Tim Wilkerson ended a yearlong winless drought by racing to his third consecutive Funny Car title at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways in Kent, Wash.

Wilkerson drove his Ford Mustang to a 4.146-second run at 300.53 mph to defeat Jack Beckman, who finished in 4.598 at 238.64.

Del Worsham (Top Fuel) and Jason Line (Pro Stock) also won their divisions.

Worsham earned his sixth victory of the season and 31st of his career by outrunning Tony Schumacher, posting a 3.891 at 316.38 to hold of Schumacher’s 3.915 at 313.95.

Line took his fourth Pro Stock win of the season and 25th of his career by beating teammate Greg Anderson, making a pass in 6.553 and 210.87 to defeat Anderson, who trailed with a 6.567 at 211.13.

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