Keselowski Wins Second Straight Nationwide Series Race With BUBBA burger 250 Victory
Brad Keselowski sizzled “under the lights” at Richmond International Raceway, dominating the BUBBA burger 250 to earn his second NASCAR Nationwide Series victory in as many weeks. Keselowski, who won last week at Talladega, led 189 laps Friday night but had to hold off Greg Biffle and Jamie McMurray in a Green-White-Checkered finish after a gutsy call to pit under caution in the closing laps.
Keselowski earned his eighth career Nationwide Series win by 0.261 seconds over Biffle and extended his points lead in the series to 59 over Kevin Harvick with his eighth top-10 finish in 2010.
“It wouldn’t have been right if this race didn’t come down to a Green-White-Checker,” Keselowski said. “If we lost this because we didn’t take tires, I’d have been mad. Cautions are part of racing.”
Keselowski led by more than two seconds when Paul Menard suffered a flat tire that put him in the wall with five laps remaining. It looked like pole-sitter Kyle Busch was going to steal the victory when he chose not to pit while leading the race. On fresh tires, Keselowski rallied from the sixth position after the restart.
“We’ve had great cars all year. We made the right moves today. I was worried that this one might have slipped away when that caution came out, but it was the right call to take tires.”
Biffle, who took only two tires on the last stop, had the lead when the white flag waved but couldn’t hold off Keselowski.
“That caution made things exciting at the end,” Biffle said. “Allgaier spun his tires on the restart, and with Jamie and Kyle battling for the lead, I was able to get by. Keselowski was just flying. I tried to stay with him, but I just couldn’t hold him off.”
McMurray spent most of the race outside of the top, but a solid stop on pit road put him in the mix at the end.
“We didn’t qualify very well, but once the race started, things got better,” McMurray said. “My guys did a great job in the pits. When the 12 [Justin Allgaier] spun his tires, I got a jump. On that restart, I had so much build up on my left side tires, I just couldn’t carry the speed I needed”
Busch, the defending winner of the race, settled for fourth
“We didn’t have the car tonight,” Busch said. “We didn’t have anything for the 22 [Keselowski]. Ours was a second placed car. Tonight was my call to stay out.”
Carl Edwards finished fifth, Joey Logano was sixth, and Kevin Harvick finished seventh. Edwards, originally penalized for jumping the final restart, was credited with fifth place after video replays showed he had given the place back which he had illicitly gained.
When the race started, Busch jumped out to an immediate lead over Reed Sorenson and Keselowski. The first caution of the evening came out on lap 14 after an altercation between Willie Allen, Michael Annett and Kevin Lepage left Allen spinning down the front straight. After one green flag lap, Michael Wallace brought out another caution when his drive train exploded on the front straightaway, forcing Steve Arpin to take evasive action.
On lap 95, Scott Lagasse Jr.’s machine had a right front tire go down, bringing out another caution. When pit road opened, all the leaders headed for pit road for service. Keselowski maintained the lead after all the cars shuffled through the pits. Busch chose to give up track position in a bid to improve the handling of his car. While the right rear tire was off, the crew removed a spring rubber. The extra time dropped Busch to sixth.
Action was slowed again on lap 111 when Steve Wallace lost control of his racecar in Turn 3, causing it to spin exiting Turn 4. After a short caution period, the field got up to speed only to slow again when Michael McDowell stopped his car on the apron of Turn 2.
With 75 laps remaining, Keselsowski held a 2.5 second lead over Allgaier. By lap 180, the lead was up to 3.2 seconds and 7.5 seconds over third-place Harvick. On lap 186 the caution waved after Jason Leffler lightly grazed the wall in Turn 2. The leaders headed for pit road, and Busch was the big winner, jumping up to second.
When the green waved, Allgaier got very racy, putting a bumper to Keselowski’s machine, almost spinning him. Allgaier then had some close moments with Busch. After a few corners of side-by-side racing, Busch pulled out a half-second lead over Allgaier.
Menard’s tire went down with five to go, setting up the dramatic finish. As the pace car led the field past the entrance to pit road, second placed Busch faked entering the pits. Kelesowski moved to match Busch, only to have Busch swerve back onto the track. Keselowski couldn’t react fast enough and drove over the line defining the entrance. Keselowski had to go to the pits. The rest of the leaders stayed out, but the call for fresh tires led to the win for Keselowski.
Keselowski took 2 hours, 4 minutes and 21 seconds to complete the 252 laps at an average speed of 91.194 mph. There were seven caution periods lasting 45 laps and there were four lead changes among 3 drivers.
The NASCAR Doubleheader weekend concludes Saturday night with the running of the Crown Royal Presents The Heath Calhoun 400 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling 866-455-RACE (7223) or clicking here.