Brad Keselowski became the first three-time winner at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday night in Sparta, Kentucky, overtaking Kevin Harvick on lap 201 and holding on for the Sprint Cup Series victory.
Matt Kenseth grabbed the lead with six laps remaining but soon pitted for fuel to hand the top spot back to Keselowski, who had just enough gas in reserve to edge Carl Edwards by .175 seconds in a tense finish for the 400-mile race. Keselowski’s tank eventually ran dry and he needed a tow truck to get to victory lane.
Ryan Newman was third, followed by Kurt Busch and then Tony Stewart in fifth in his final Kentucky race. The three-time series champion is retiring after this season.
Keselowski led 75 laps on his way to his second straight win and series-best fourth of the season. His latest triumph on the 1.5 mile tri-oval might have been his most impressive in terms of strategy.
The Penske Racing driver pitted just four times and made the most of his gas tank down to the last drop, withstanding one last charge from Edwards.
Keselowski clearly got a lot from his tires and setup, both of which were important on the resurfaced and reconfigured track featuring higher banking in turns and 1 and 2. He lamented the smoothing of front-stretch bumps he said added character to Kentucky, but quickly adapted to the improvements and new NASCAR rules that reduced downforce and sideforce.
Harvick, the pole-sitter, led for a race-high 128 laps and finished ninth.
Accidents were the story early on. Some notable names were collected, including Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano and rookie Chase Elliott.
Simon Pagenaud will start on the pole for the fifth time this season at Sunday’s IndyCar series race at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa.
Pagenaud, the series points leader, qualified with a two-lap time of 185.886 mph and gave Team Penske its 500th pole across all forms of motorsports.
Josef Newgarden will join Pagenaud on the front row.
Helio Castroneves, Pagenaud’s teammate, will start third, followed by rookie Max Chilton and Charlie Kimball.
Pagenaud will seek to become the first pole sitter to win in Iowa in 10 tries.
Fire at Sprint Cup
Firefighters have extinguished a fire that broke out in the parking lot behind the grandstand at Kentucky Speedway.
Track spokesman Tim Bray said firefighters at the facility and from Gallatin County put out the blaze in the speedway’s Platinum lot. Bray said the fire began in the passenger compartment of a truck and damaged a second vehicle, with a third singed. No one was injured.
The fire created a brief diversion from Saturday night’s 400-mile Sprint Cup Series race that featured numerous early accidents on the newly repaved and reconfigured track. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano, A.J. Allmendinger and rookie Chase Elliott all were involved in wrecks.
British Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for the British Grand Prix in Silverstone, England, in a dramatic late qualifying lap.
Hamilton outpaced Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg by three-tenths of a second in the closing seconds of the session.
It came after his earlier fastest lap in Q3 was deleted by race stewards because he ran wide and off the circuit, leaving him 10th with only three minutes remaining.
It was Hamilton’s fourth pole at the British GP, his sixth this season, and the 55th of his Formula One career.
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