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Keselowski Wins Nationwide Race At Texas

Keselowski Wins Nationwide Race At Texas

by November 2, 2013 0 comments

Fort Worth, Tex. :: Brad Keselowski took the checkered flag on Saturday afternoon in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway to record his first career NASCAR Nationwide Series victory at the speedway.

Throughout the day, the race was dominated by Penske Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing. Brad Keselowski led 106 laps, followed by Denny Hamlin with 45 and Matt Kenseth with 42. Between the two teams, they led 195 of the 200 scheduled laps.

The first caution didn’t fly until lap 72 when debris was spotted on the track. During pit stops, the top four drivers, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon and Trevor Bayne only took fuel in order to save tires towards the end of the race.

On lap 111, the decision to not take tires bit Kyle Busch as his No. 54 Monster Toyota Camry had a right rear tire issue, which sent him into the outside wall, bringing out the second caution of the day. During the pit stops, Denny Hamlin’s crew catapulted him past Matt Kenseth to take the race lead.

For the next 56 laps, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski traded the lead back and forth. With such a clean race and the laps winding down, it was appearing to come down to one last green flag pit stop.

With tires wearing out, the leaders were forced to hit pit road on lap 172. Denny Hamlin won the race off pit road, followed by Brad Keselowski, who had jack issues and Matt Kenseth, whose tire changer missed a lug nut on the right rear. However, as the leaders were racing off pit road, Trevor Bayne spun Joe Nemechek in turn two to bring out the third caution.

The final caution flew on lap 179 when Travis Pastrana nailed the inside wall in turn two after making contact with Jeff Green.

Brad Keselowski outdrove Matt Kenseth in the final 14 laps to capture the victory.

“I think the team did a great job of getting us to where we could utilize our strengths of having a fast car and being able to get through traffic fairly well and we utilized those strengths to perfection at the end to get back by the 18 (Matt Kenseth) and the 20 (Denny Hamlin) and I think that was some pretty good Texas side-by-side racing,” Brad Keselowski said.

The win marked Keselowski’s sixth of the season. The No. 22 Penske Racing Ford Mustang has seen Victory Lane on 12 occasions in 2013. Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 Toyota holds the current record set back in 2010 with 13 wins.

Austin Dillon who finished fifth leads third place finisher, Sam Hornish Jr. by only six points in the driver’s championship points standings. The two drivers are the only ones who have a realistic shot at winning the title this season unless something major happens. Regan Smith sits third, 54 points back.

“It is one of those things,” Sam Hornish Jr. said in response to hitting the commitment cone early in the race. “You wear the tires here and the track doesn’t have a whole lot of grip. Pit road comes up pretty quick and I got a little locked up as soon as I got on the brakes and did everything I could do to try to get it whoaed up and had a choice of hitting the cone or the back of the 54 car. I figured the cone would hurt the front of my car a lot less. It was a great recovery by everyone that works on the Wurth Ford Mustang and we did what we needed to do today.”

As for the owner’s championship points, Penske Racing’s No. 22 leads Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 54 by 26 points. The No. 54 was leading the owner’s points early in the day, but the tire issue back on lap 111 erased the lead.

Photo Credit:Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images

Hunter Thomas
Hunter Thomas is a journalist who grew up in Darlington, S.C. His first motorsports-based endeavor was working as the Public Relations Director at Dillon Motor Speedway in Dillon, S.C., and his journalism start came while he was freelancing at his hometown newspaper, the News & Press while in college.

Hunter has been working within the NASCAR industry since 2010, and throughout the years, he has done everything from PR/Marketing for drivers and teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, to working at Rockingham Speedway. As a journalist, Hunter has covered everything from regional short tracks to NASCAR, ARCA Racing Series, World of Outlaws, Red Bull Global Rallycross, NHRA and much more.

Follow Hunter Thomas on Twitter by following, @HunterThomas08

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