At Kentucky

NASCAR: Mistake-free run gives Keselowski win at Kentucky

jutter@charlotteobserver.comJune 28, 2014 

— Without the mistake, this time Brad Keselowski got the win.

One day after a pit road speeding penalty cost him a victory in the Nationwide Series race at Kentucky Speedway, Keselowski was able to complete the dominating performance he started in Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 and earn his second Sprint Cup Series win of the season.

The win is also the 12th of Keselowski’s career and second at Kentucky.

Kyle Busch finished second, Ryan Newman was third, Matt Kenseth was fourth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. was fifth.

Series points leader Jeff Gordon ended up sixth.

Rain threatened to delay the start, but the skies cleared in time for the race to begin as scheduled.

As he did in the Nationwide race on Friday night, Keselowski wasted no time in taking command of the race, leading the first 78 laps.

“It feels like don’t screw it up. Our car was awesome. The team did a great job and I’m just really thankful to have a car this good. I don’t know how else to put it. The Miller Lite Ford Fusion was hauling and I just can’t wait to get deeper in the season and the post-season. I think this is where we need to be to have a shot at another championship, so I’m just real proud of everyone right now.”

Denny Hamlin, who was running in the top-10, blew a right-front tire and crashed into the Turn 3 wall on Lap 29 to bring out the first caution and end the race for him.

“It was a hard hit, but it really feels as good as ever because we’ve really worked on the interiors of our cars trying to work on situations like this,” Hamlin said. “Last year I had a tire blow out here and it hurt way worse than it did this time.”

Rookie Kyle Larson experienced a similar problem on Lap 77 which brought out the second caution of the race.

“We were hoping for a good points day to pad our points where we are before we go to Daytona where it’s a real crapshoot,” Larson said. “It’s disappointing to have two weekends that didn’t end up very well the last couple of races.”

Joey Logano was the first car off pit road and took over the race lead on the restart on Lap 85.

Keselowski passed Logano and retook the lead on Lap 87.

Debris on the track brought out a caution on Lap 127. Once again lead-lap cars pit for fuel and tires with Logano taking back the lead on the restart on Lap 132. He was followed by Newman, Kyle Busch, Keselowski and Earnhardt Jr.

Keselowski worked over Logano several laps before moving again into the lead on Lap 147.

Alex Bowman spun on Lap 154 in an incident that also collected the cars of Jamie McMurray, Aric Almirola and Kasey Kahne to bring out the fourth caution of the race.

All of the lead-lap cars pit for fuel and tires and Logano once again was first off pit road and led the way on the restart on Lap 161. He was followed by Keselowski and Kyle Busch.

David Stremme spun out on Lap 177 to bring out the fifth caution of the race. Keselowski and several other cars elected not to pit and remained in the lead on the restart on lap 182.

Almirola slammed into the Turn 2 wall on Lap 214 to bring out the sixth caution of the race. Several cars had already started some green flag stops when the caution was displayed. Kyle Busch was one of those who already stopped in the pit and took over the race lead on the restart on Lap 220 followed by Newman and Earnhardt.

With 30 laps remaining, Kyle Busch remained in the lead followed by Keselowski, Newman, Logano and Harvick.

Keselowski ran down Busch and retook the lead on Lap 249 of 267.

Utter: (704) 358-5113; Twitter: @jim_utter.

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