• Rick Capone, Sports Editor

Brad Keselowski wins Quaker State 400 for third time

It was a gamble that paid off – big time. With his car running out of gas, Brad Keselowski stayed out on the track, stretched his fuel consumption and crossed the finish line the winner of the NASCAR Quaker State 400 on the newly resurfaced Kentucky Speedway in Sparta on Saturday, July 9. It was the third victory at the Kentucky Speedway for Keselowski, who was also the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup series champion. “That was something,” Keselowski said after the race in an article on KentuckySpeedway.com. “This is a night I’m not going to forget. Last year, we came here, I thought we were the best car, didn’t catch a single break, didn’t execute, and those two things kept us out of victory lane. This week, we caught some breaks, we executed and we were able to win. Not the fastest car, but still a hell of a team effort to be proud of.” Finishing second, just 0.175-of-a-second (about two car lengths) behind Keselowski, was Carl Edwards. It was a nerve-wracking ending to the race for Keselowski, as he knew he was running out of fuel. In fact, he radioed his crew chief, Paul Wolfe, with two laps remaining to tell him his car was running out of fuel, and then, with one lap to go, he told Wolfe he was out of fuel all together. Wolfe then told his driver to go into fuel-saving mode, and the decision paid off. According to Wolfe, on the final lap, the car picked up some fuel on Turn 1, slowed down a little going down the back stretch, then picked up just enough fuel from the tank to get him across the finish line. “He does such a good job of saving fuel when we need to do that, I had confidence that we could pull it off,” said Wolfe. “I knew it was going to be close, but that’s ultimately what made it so exciting at the end.” Going into that fuel-conservation mode, and slowing down at some points on the track during the final lap, led Edwards to think he had a good chance to get the win. “I thought he was out of fuel and he wasn’t,” said Edwards. “He played it perfectly. He let me get to him and then stood on it (the gas pedal). But, we had an opportunity to win the race and I really appreciate my crew chief putting us in that position and TRD and the power and the fuel mileage that we get. Those are great engines. We had a shot at it. We just weren’t able to do it.” In the race, which had 11 caution flags that tied the race record at the Speedway, Kevin Harvick, the race’s polesitter led 94 of the first 134 laps. Keselowski then took over the lead from Harvick on a lap 200 restart, and held onto it until lap 261, when Matt Kenseth got in front of him. Keselowski then pitted for fuel with six laps to go, regained the lead and went on to get the win. Finishing second in the race was Edwards, followed by Ryan Newman in third, Kurt Busch fourth and Tony Stewart fifth. Also, Kenseth finished eighth, and Harvick finished ninth. There were two other NASCAR races at the Kentucky Speedway over the weekend. On Friday, July 8, Kyle Busch scored a dominating victory in the NASCAR XFINITY Alsco 300. It was his fifth victory in the series out of the nine races so far this season. “It feels good to score that victory and get back to victory lane here at Kentucky Speedway,” said Busch. “It’s been a long, long time for the JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) XFINITY Series program and for me it’s been a long time. It certainly feels good.” Finishing second in the race was Austin Dillon, followed by Daniel Suarez third, Erik Jones fourth and Darrell Wallace fifth. On Thursday, July 7, 18-year old William Byron won the Camping World Truck Series Buckle Up In Your Truck 225. The win was the fourth, of this, his rookie season. He now leads the points standings in the series. In addition, the win was the 51st for Kyle Busch Motorsports since the team started in 2010, which makes it the all-time winningest team, an honor it now shares with Roush Fenway Racing. “It’s incredible,” said Byron. “To be a part of this organization; it’s so awesome to have Kyle and Samantha (Busch’s) support and Toyota’s support. … It’s a dream come true to get a fourth win like this. It just keeps me going, man. I’ve got a great team behind me.” Finishing second in the race was John Hunter, followed by Daniel Hemric third, Christopher Bell fourth and Johnny Sauter fifth.

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