Keselowski wins Michigan Nationwide
|By Diego Mejia||Saturday, August 15th 2009, 23:36 GMT|
Brad Keselowski snatched victory from Brian Vickers and Kyle Busch on the last lap to claim his third Nationwide Series win of the season at Michigan International Speedway.
The Michigan native had been a spectator of the battle for victory that unfolded ahead of him between Vickers and Busch, until the final lap of the race, where a mistake from Vickers allowed Keselowski an unexpected shot at the win.
With two laps remaining, Vickers got loose at Turn 4 while leading, sliding up the track and right in front of Busch. Keselowski immediately closed on them as Vickers shut the door on Busch into the front stretch, forcing the Joe Gibbs racer to drive on the apron.
Keselowski drove on the outside of both and almost passed Vickers, running side by side with him into Turn 3 on the final lap. The JR Motorsports driver made the most of his run on the outside, finally pulling off the pass for victory out of the last turn to claim a spectacular win.
"I saw them battling on [turns] three and four with one to go and... I had them," said Keselowski after winning at his home track for the first time in his career. "I knew it. I knew that I could get on the outside and kill the 32 [Vickers]. I wasn't sure about the 18 [Busch]; I don't know what happened to him.
"I'm speechless. I can't believe it. I'm terrible here and to win here is a major accomplishment."
When the race finished, and as they drove into the pits, Busch parked his car in front of Vickers' and went to show his frustration to the Braun Racing driver. When Vickers got out of his car he went to confront Busch, who pulled up the visor of his rival's helmet before a mechanic from Joe Gibbs Racing split the two to avoid tempers running any higher.
"He hung on my right rear quarter panel all the way down the front straightaway and gave the win to the 88 car," said Busch after finishing third. "He slowed down so much, he had no idea the 88 car was coming and he just drove by both of us on the outside because Brian Vickers was trying to slow both of us down.
"It's stupid. If he would've run his own line at the top of the track and I would've ran my own line right at the bottom of the track, it could've been a battle between us two. But unfortunately you race with idiots and I guess he'll have that sometimes.
"I'm sure I'm complaining and I'm whining and I'm a cry-baby but that's just uncalled for, it's stupid. I would've run my own line instead of giving it to a third placed car in order to battle it out between the top two, who deserved to win and deserved to battle for the race right at the end. [Keselowski] didn't deserve to win."
Vickers, who led 78 of the race's 125 laps, was obviously not very forthcoming of Busch's comments, although he accepted that he didn't know Keselowski was coming from behind with a run at them.
"Oh man, I tell you. I'm so sorry, I forgot it was the Kyle Busch show," said Vickers sarcastically after finishing second. "I thought we were racing for a win. I'm really sorry for my team. We were too loose from the start of the run. [Busch] was better. I thought it was my job to hold him off, apparently not.
"He came over to the car after we came in and knocked our fender in, which was unnecessary, then started crying like a little baby and asked me to get out and battle like men. If he wants to play that's fine with me, and since I got out he ran off.
"It's a shame that it went out like that. I thought it was a good race. Congratulations to the 88 [Keselowski]. He snuck around both of us. I didn't see him coming. I let my guys down.
"We should have been able to win this race but last I checked it weren't the Kyle Busch show, it was a Nationwide race and we're supposed to race here for the win."
Despite ending a run of ten consecutive top-two finishes, Busch was able to set a new Nationwide Series record by leading a race for the 20th consecutive time, breaking the previous mark set by Sam Ard in 1984.
He grabbed the lead for the first time on lap 15 when he got by pole-sitter Brian Vickers out of Turn 4, although he was able to hold it for just a few laps before Vickers passed him again. The pair exchanged the lead a number of times until the stakes were raised in the closing laps.
Behind them David Ragan was a distant fourth ahead of Kevin Harvick and Ryan Newman, while Justin Allgaier was the next among the Nationwide Series regulars in seventh, beating Gregg Biffle and Jeff Burton.
Carl Edwards could not celebrate his 30th birthday as he would have liked, because as soon as lap three his race turned awry when he made contact with Trevor Bayne while running three-wide with another car at Turn 2. Edwards seemed to have the car saved after the first hit, but he then came towards Bayne again and rebounded towards the wall, hitting it hard.
"It definitely looks like I didn't give Trevor enough room," admitted Edwards after the incident. "I assume the 20 car or whoever was on the very inside was going to go to the bottom and I was thinking about the rest of the corner and just drove in there and kind of shut him down."
Edwards' retirement allowed Busch to further stretch his lead in the championship to 339 points, while Keselowski has now closed to within just 50 points of second place in the driver standings.
Pos Driver Make Laps 1. Brad Keselowski Chevrolet 125 2. Brian Vickers Toyota 125 3. Kyle Busch Toyota 125 4. David Ragan Ford 125 5. Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 125 6. Ryan Newman Chevrolet 125 7. Justin Allgaier Dodge 125 8. Greg Biffle Ford 125 9. Jeff Burton Chevrolet 125 10. Paul Menard Ford 125 11. Jason Leffler Toyota 125 12. Reed Sorenson Chevrolet 125 13. Michael Annett Toyota 125 14. David Reutimann Toyota 125 15. Steve Wallace Chevrolet 125 16. Justin Lofton Toyota 125 17. Michael McDowell Dodge 125 18. Shelby Howard Chevrolet 125 19. Austin Dillon Chevrolet 125 20. Jason Keller Ford 124 21. JJ Yeley Dodge 124 22. Kenny Wallace Chevrolet 124 23. Brad Coleman Toyota 124 24. Robert Richardson Jr Chevrolet 123 25. Jeremy Clements Chevrolet 123 26. Matt Carter Ford 123 27. Mike Bliss Chevrolet 123 28. Eric McClure Ford 123 29. Brendan Gaughan Chevrolet 123 30. Trevor Bayne Toyota 122 31. Danny O'Quinn Jr Chevrolet 121 32. Denny Hamlin Toyota 117 33. Tony Raines Dodge 74 34. Mike Wallace Chevrolet 44 35. Scott Wimmer Chevrolet 42 36. Mark Green Chevrolet 32 37. Chase Miller Toyota 11 38. Terry Cook Chevrolet 8 39. Johnny Chapman Chevrolet 6 40. Carl Edwards Ford 2 41. Kevin Hamlin Chevrolet 1 42. Dennis Setzer Dodge 1 43. Willie Allen Dodge 1