Keselowski Powers to Kentucky Win
By: Dustin Long - @dustinlong on June 28, 2014 | 10:49 P.M. EST
The victory was the 12th in Keselowski’s career and marked the first time he’s won a Cup race after starting on the pole. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)
There was no catching Brad Keselowski and no holding him back when he didn’t lead, as he scored a convincing win Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway.
Keselowski led 199 of the 267 laps but had to rally late because a few of the leaders were on pit road when a caution came out. That put them at the front. Keselowski, who pitted after them, restarted sixth with about 50 laps to go. He passed Kyle Busch for the lead with 20 laps left and was not challenged after that, scoring his second NASCAR Sprint Cup victory of the season.
Busch finished second with Ryan Newman scoring a season-best third-place effort. Matt Kenseth overcame a flat tire and placed fourth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. paced Hendrick Motorsports - which put all four cars in the top 10 - by placing fifth.
“Our car was awesome,’’ said Keselowski, whose previous victory this season was at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. “The team did a great job and I’m just really thankful to have a car this good. I think this is where we need to be to have a shot at another championship.’’
The victory was the 12th in Keselowski’s career and marked the first time he’s won a Cup race after starting on the pole. He’s won three of the last eight races on 1.5-mile speedways, dating back to last season.
The only thing that slowed Keselowski was his Victory Lane celebration. He cut his hand on a champagne bottle and had to go to the infield care center. NASCAR reported that Keselowski needed four stitches on his right hand between his pinky and ring finger.
How Keselowski won: He simply had the best car. Even when he had to restart sixth with about 50 laps to go, he worked his way to the front and easily took the lead from Kyle Busch. This was a case of the best car winning. That gives him two wins on 1.5-mile tracks this season. With half the Chase races on 1.5-mile speedways, competitors better beware of Keselowski.
What else happened: Ryan Newman had his best finish of the season, placing third. He was strong and steady. He praised his pit crew for helping gain spots. He also had the horsepower to stay near the front but had nothing for Keselowski. ... Kyle Busch (second) and Matt Kenseth (fourth) gave Joe Gibbs Racing something to feel good about. After being dominant on 1.5-mile tracks last season, JGR cars have not been as strong, but Saturday night was a good showing.
Who else had a good day: Kasey Kahne finished eighth, as all four Hendrick Motorsports cars finished in the top 10. It’s been an up-and-down season for Kahne. This was a step forward. ... Dale Earnhardt Jr. led the Hendrick cars by placing fifth at a place he hasn’t always had the best luck. This was another sign of this team’s strength.
Who had a bad day: Denny Hamlin caused the first caution when it appeared a right front tire went down and he hit the wall hard, finishing last in the 42-car field. He’s failed to finish in the top 25 in the last three races. ... Kyle Larson also hit the wall, ending his night. He finished 40th, his first DNF since the Daytona 500.
Quote of the day: “I really want another championship,’’ race winner Brad Keselowski said.
Other notables: Tony Stewart placed 11th after starting at the rear because of a transmission change. ... After starting 10th, Danica Patrick finished 21st. ... Joey Logano, who ran near the front most of the race, finished ninth after having engine problems late.