Brad Keselowski Sweeps Weekend At New Hampshire Motor Speedwayby Hunter Thomas July 13, 2014 0 comments
Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images
LOUDON, N.H. – Brad Keselowski won his third race of the season by dominating Sunday’s Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
After winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series on Saturday, Keselowski had momentum heading into Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. He became the 13th different winner in the last 13 races at the speedway. The win marks the first time since 2001 that Ford has won four consecutive races.
“The team was just really on it today,” Keselowski said. “It really feels like we hit our stride, and I’m kind of quiet and somber because I want to soak it all in. I don’t want this moment to go away so quick. Seems like you get in victory lane and you’re rushed around left and right you don’t really get a chance to soak it in. This was just such a phenomenal weekend, and these don’t happen that often, and that’s what makes it special, and you try to appreciate them and enjoy them and hope that there’s more but not count on it, because these are big deals, winning races at the Sprint Cup level, sweeping a weekend, and it’s all possible because of the hard work and effort from everyone at Team Penske.”
The day started off on an odd note. Jimmie Johnson who started second in Sunday’s race had a flat left rear tire on lap 8 and another left rear tire “explode” on lap 15. Johnson with no chance to save the car pounded the wall entering turn three. In practice, Joey Logano and Aric Almirola also experienced flat left rear tires. Johnson shared his thoughts on the failures after climbing from his demolished No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS.
“The first one (tire) I was able to drive the car all the way through Turns 1 and 2,” Johnson said. “I knew I had a flat and then got down the back and came in. The other one just blew on the straight as soon as I hit the brakes. I’m not sure what caused it. I’m sure there will be a lot of speculation and I’m sure finger pointing back to the teams or our team. But we saw some issues here especially with that particular tire the last couple of days. We will try to dig in and learn more, but I can promise you one thing is wasn’t low tire pressure. I’ve been out here for two days running around and haven’t had a flat.”
As the race progressed, there were a few debris cautions, but the caution flew on lap 213 for the strangest event. Joey Logano who was running second behind teammate, Brad Keselowski was taken out by Morgan Shepherd who was 15 laps down at the time. Shepherd just bobbled in the entrance of turn three and slid up into Logano.
“I got taken out by the slowest car out there,” Logano said. “You would think there would be some courtesy to the leaders. We were in second place. He gets out of the way on the straightaway and then goes into the corner and slides right up into the lane I was in. Whatever. I don’t know. We will fix it and go at it again. Daytona is Daytona and everyone else crashed but this week – we were doing a good job after having a left rear flat in practice and we were running second with our backup car. I can’t get too mad at ourselves over this. It is just dumb that it happened. I feel like that should be stuff that shouldn’t happen at this level of racing.”
The race looked as if it were going to fall right into the hands of Brad Keselowski without even a challenge, but on lap 299, the caution flew for Justin Allgaier who crashed in turn three. During the caution, Jeff Gordon ran out of fuel.
“We knew we were very close,” Gordon said. “That pick-up is in the right side and so I was scuffing my tires and think I just took enough fuel out of the pick-up and I could never get any back in there. I tried. I think if we would have gone green, we would have been fine. I think it was really just because under caution it wouldn’t pick-up the amount of fuel that was in there.”
On the restart for the green-white-checkered finish, Kevin Harvick who started on the inside of the front row ran out of gas, and that left Brad Keselowski the inside line. Kyle Busch tried to catch and pass him, but he couldn’t seal the deal, and Brad Keselowski went on to capture Ford’s 626th victory in the series.
“Yeah, it’s gratifying in a lot of ways,” Keselowski said. “I don’t think it’s just that we have three wins. I think that it’s that we’re leading laps. I think we were fast last year at this time, but we weren’t executing. This year we’re executing which is really important, as well, and we have a lot of momentum and I think we have a lot of potential still left in our team that we’ve got to keep working to get to because everybody is going to turn it up a notch when the Chase comes, and we know that, and we need to have another gear to grab to be able to run for a championship here in 2014.”
The second place finish for Kyle Busch was his third consecutive runner-up finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
After the race, third place finisher, Kyle Larson said, “It was a really good day for the Target Chevy team,” Larson said. “We ran up front all day long. We got to lead some laps there. Shine (crew chief Chris Heroy) made some bold calls on pit road to get us some track position and really paid off. We didn’t have enough forward drive there at the end, but was able to get a good restart and get up to third. I will take it. It’s been a rough three weeks leading up to now. Just have to get back up there in the points. We were really good and then we had two DNF’s and then a bad race at Sonoma. Just got to get back to how we have been doing and that is consistent. All in all a really good day.”
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be off this upcoming weekend but will be back in action on Sunday, July 27 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Crown Royal presents your Hero’s Name Here 400 at the Brickyard. You can catch the race live on ESPN, Motor Racing Network (MRN) and NASCAR on Sirius XM at 1 p.m. ET.
Camping World RV Sales 301 Top-10 Results:
1.) #2 Brad Keselowski
2.) #18 Kyle Busch
3.) #42 Kyle Larson
4.) #20 Matt Kenseth
5.) #31 Ryan Newman
6.) #15 Clint Bowyer
7.) #14 Tony Stewart
8.) #11 Denny Hamlin
9.) #17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
10.) #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver Point Standings Top-16:
1.) #24 Jeff Gordon
2.) #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. -12
3.) #2 Brad Keselowski -36
4.) #20 Matt Kenseth -49
5.) #48 Jimmie Johnson -72
6.) #99 Carl Edwards -96
7.) #31 Ryan Newman -97
8.) #18 Kyle Busch -103
9.) #22 Joey Logano -119
10.) #15 Clint Bowyer -122
11.) #27 Paul Menard -129
12.) #11 Denny Hamlin -140
13.) #4 Kevin Harvick -142
14.) #42 Kyle Larson -146
15.) #3 Austin Dillon -146
16.) #16 Greg Biffle -151