Keselowski has gas in Nationwide victory
Brad Keselowski won the NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday in North Carolina, leading the final 67 laps to give Penske Racing a winning start on auto racing’s biggest weekend.
Keselowski raced to his first Nationwide victory of the year. He’ll try to double up in Sprint Cup’s longest race of the season, the Coca-Cola 600, tonight. In between comes the Indy 500, a race that owner Roger Penske’s cars have won 15 times. Penske driver Ryan Briscoe will start from the pole there today.
Penske Racing has “three shots at winning races this weekend,” Keselowski said. “We’re one for one.”
Keselowski led the way as Sprint Cup drivers took the top four spots. Denny Hamlin was second, followed by Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick.
Nationwide points leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had drive shaft problems and finished 26th.
For a while, it looked as if Keselowski might relive the last-lap, out-of-gas experience that cost Dale Earnhardt Jr. a Coca-Cola 600 win in 2011.
Keselowski gassed up with 73 laps to go, then chose to stay out during a caution period a few laps later instead of pitting like most of the field. That began a fuel mileage countdown that had Keselowski and his team guessing if they had enough to make it to the end, unlike Earnhardt, who went dry entering the final turn and was passed for the victory.
The gamble worked, and Keselowski picked up his 18th win in the series and his second at Charlotte.
Veteran Michael Schumacher posted the fastest time in an action-packed qualifying session at the Monaco Grand Prix, but his previous grid penalty at the Spanish GP means he’ll start sixth and Mark Webber’s Red Bull will start today’s race in the pole position.