Practice Makes Perfect For Keselowski
Larry Woody | Senior Writer
Gladeville, Tenn. – Extra effort paid off for Brad Keselowski.
Keselowski said coming in for a Friday practice session in preparation for Saturday night’s Nationwide race at Nashville Supespeedway – while two other Sprint Cup double-dippers elected to skip it and remain at Pocono – helped propel him to victory in the Federated Auto Parts 300.
“That extra practice was important; if I hadn’t come in yesterday (Friday) I don’t think I could have won the race,” said Keselowski after his 1.6-second victory over Carl Edwards.
Paul Menard, who along with Keselowski and Edwards is running the full Nationwide and Cup schedules, finished third.
Keselowski, who departed after the race for Pocono to get a few hours’ rest before Sunday’s Sprint Cup race, said maintaining such a hectic schedule is demanding.
“Sometimes it’s not the easiest or the most fun thing to do,” he said. “But then I feel privileged to get the opportunity. I enjoy it.”
Keselowski took the lead from Edwards on a re-start with 22 laps remaining around the 1.3-mile concrete track and never gave it back. He led a race-high total of 98 laps.
“I think Carl’s car was a touch better than mine, but I got a great-restart and got around him,” Keselowski said.
“It’s not a win but my guys worked hard and I led a lot of laps, so it was a good day for us,” Edwards said.
Edwards led 52 laps, third behind pole-sitter Justin Allgaier’s 58.
Keselowski’s third Nationwide victory of the season kept him solidly in the points lead. He has a 196-point edge over Kyle Busch, who skipped Saturday’s race and does not plan to defending his Nationwide title. Kevin Harvick likewise skipped the race.
Edwards, third in the standings (although destined to displace Busch for second), was asked if Saturday night’s battle with Keselowski could be a preview of the Nationwide title fight this season.
“I hope it’s kind of a preview,” Edwards said, “but I hope it doesn’t turn out like it did tonight.”
Menard, who matched his career-best finish, wasn’t surprised by the Cup drivers’ 1-2-3 finish.
“It shows that we have real good teams and strong resources,” he said. “We also run a lot more laps.”
Keselowski, who captured his first Nationwide race here two years ago, now has nine wins in 117 starts. He said he was disappointed that Busch was not in the lineup “because I like to beat him.”
It was a long night for Nashville-based Baker Curb Racing, whose drivers Scott Wimmer and Scott Lagasse finished 21st and 33rd, respectively, after getting caught up in crashes.
The track wraps up its 10th anniversary season with a NASCAR Camping World Series race on Aug. 7.
– Larry Woody can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.orgNo Comment