Brad Keselowski hitting on all cylinders to start the summer- Though it may have come by fuel mileage, Keselowski wound up in victory lane again on Saturday evening in Kentucky. It was his third win in six tries at the newly repaved 1.5-mile racetrack. Adding the XFINITY Series, he has won at least one race in six consecutive seasons in the Bluegrass state.
The No. 2 car went the final 68 laps on a tank of gas, something only eight other cars could do. However, Keselowski saved gas while leading the majority of the last stint, setting a blistering pace.
Once Martin Truex, Jr. and Matt Kenseth pitted, Keselowski had over a 10-second lead on Carl Edwards, who made it known he was going trying to go the distance. The No. 19 car got it down to one car-length before the No. 2 car stepped up the pace on.
Coming to the white flag, Keselowski believed that he had run his car completely out of gas, until it re-fired. He had just enough gas to get back to the checkered flag before the Ford ran completely out of gas, needing a push by a tow truck to victory circle.
Winning the race jumped Keselowski and Team Penske to the top of the Chase standings, as he has a series-high four victories in 2016. As the Cup Series crosses the halfway point of the season, Keselowski is confident heading to the Magic Mile.
In the last four races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Keselowski has led 321 laps, including a victory in 2014. The 32-year-old is eyeing his third straight triumph, something he’s never done in the Cup Series. He’s only went back-to-back one other time, also in 2014 at Richmond and Chicago.
Prior to Daytona, Keselowski wasn’t talked about much, as Joe Gibbs Racing had dominated the season. Boy, how two races have changed that as he now sits second in the overall point standings, four markers behind Kevin Harvick. Dustin Albino
XFINITY: Be Ready for Kentucky Return – Unlike the Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR’s XFINITY Series will make a second stop at Kentucky Speedway later this year. That race will take place on September 24th, and it will serve as the first race of the inaugural NXS Chase.
NHRA: Beckman Notches That Elusive Win – Fast Jack Beckman has indeed been fast, qualifying atop or near the top of the standings all season, but actually parlaying those quick qualifying runs into a win has proven difficult. Beckman finally found himself hoisting the Wally at team owner Don Schumacher’s home track in Chicago after winning the K&N Route 66 NHRA Nationals.
The Funny Car final came down to Beckman facing off against his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps. Beckman’s 3.955 second, 324.05 mph run was good enough to get it done after Capps had troubles around half track and posted a 4.522 second, 194.74 result. Beckman also got by John Hale, Courtney Force, and Robert Hight on his way to the matchup with Capps.
“The car was darn near flawless today. I saw a whole lot of that NAPA front fender out there in the final and just as I thought oh-no, it disappeared. It was a great feeling watching that win light come on today,” said Beckman. “I thought we had so much momentum last year and we haven’t seen a winner’s circle since Reading last year. We were struggling. We’ve ran well at times this year, with four No. 1 qualifying positions and setting the national record, but we haven’t been able to put it all together.”
DSR also took home the Top Fuel trophy after Antron Brown nabbed the win over J.R. Todd in the finals. It marked the fourth straight year the team has gotten the Nitro sweep at this event. Brown posted a run of 3.777 seconds at 321.19 mph to defeat Todd’s 3.798 seconds at 322.11 mph in an excellent side-by-side battle. Brown got by Clay Millican, Terry McMillen, and Leah Pritchett in earlier rounds.
Pro Stock was still all KB Racing in the finals, but with a slightly different look as Greg Anderson faced off against Bo Butner. Butner is still looking for that first win after Anderson’s 6.644 seconds at 209.01 mph beat his 6.667 seconds at 209.17 mph. Chalk that up however as Anderson’s 84th career Pro Stock victory, just one win behind Bob Glidden to tie Glidden for second on the all-time Pro Stock win list.
Anderson beat Dave River, Allen Johnson, and Shane Gray in earlier rounds. Gray was the No. 1 qualifier for the event, so it would appear the gap KB Racing has enjoyed over the competition all season could be closing.
“We basically out-raced them today and we just flat found a way to win each round,” said Anderson. “It is certainly our hardest-fought win of the season. I am looking forward to the battle that’s coming. This Western Swing should be a real battle. We saw some teams make big progress here this weekend and we will have a new landscape coming up for the Countdown. I am sure of it. We are going to have to go home and dig and work hard and get ready for the Western Swing.”
Two riders in Pro Stock Motorcycle are chasing that No. 1 spot on the all-time class wins list, held down by Dave Schultz at 45 wins, and those riders found themselves facing off in the finals at Route 66. Andrew Hines entered the event with 43 wins to Angelle Sampey’s 42. Give the advantage to Hines, who scored win number 44 and now needs just one more to tie the all-time class wins leader. Hines put down a lap at 6.858 seconds at 194.91 mph to beat Sampey’s 6.893 at 193.40 mph. Hines also beat Chip Ellis, Michael Ray, and Steve Johnson in earlier rounds. Toni Montgomery