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Keselowski Holds Off Kenseth In Bristol

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, March 18 2012

Penske Racing's Brad Keselowski got the victory in Bristol on Sunday. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Harold Hinson)

Penske Racing’s Brad Keselowski passed Matt Kenseth for the lead with 115 to go, survived a restart with 17 to go and then held on the rest of the way to win the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday afternoon.

The victory was the fifth of Keselowski’s career and it came by .71 seconds over Kenseth of Roush Fenway Racing.

“I told somebody before the race,” Keselowski, who had finished 32nd, fifth and 32nd in the first three races of the season, said, “this is the best race car I’ve ever had in Cup. It showed off today. Hopefully we can have more cars like this and we’ll win more races and continue to move the needle forward.

“I’ve said in pre-season this year that the goal here at Penske Racing is to win a Sprint Cup championship. That’s where we’re all pushing. One win certainly doesn’t achieve that, but it’s a great step. I know I’m committed to it.

“I feel very good about that. Always feels good to get them steps in. We’re making some headway. So we’re going to keep pushing. Really proud of this one, for sure. This is our earn-it place. Ain’t no doubt about that. Happy to earn it.”

Behind Kenseth were three Michael Waltrip Racing Toyotas – those of Martin Truex Jr, Clint Bowyer and Brian Vickers.

Jeff Burton, Jamie McMurray, Juan Pablo Montoya, Jimmie Johnson and Paul Menard rounded out the top 10.

Several of the top cars were involved in an early wreck. Involved on lap 24 were Kasey Kahne, Regan Smtih, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch and Marcos Ambrose. Among that group were winners of a bunch of Bristol races.

Kahne, Ambrose, Busch and Edwards were forced into the garages by the wreck.

“I think Regan was battling with that same thing we all battle with here which is should you let the guy go or keep racing him,” Edwards said. “Kasey probably thought he was clear and that ended up in a wreck. It is hard to put 43 cars on a half-mile going this fast and not wreck. It is too bad it happened this early. We have a really great race car and I was excited to race today. I wanted to drive more.”

Another driver who ran among the leaders most of the day and appeared to have a car fast enough to challenge for the victory, Jeff Gordon, crashed with 140 laps to go. Gordon was sideswiped by Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. and suffered a cut tire in the process.

“I think we bumped more than we should have is the way it looks like,” Gordon said. “We definitely didn’t hit in the right location, because I think the tailpipe or something just cut the left-rear (tire) immediately. We didn’t hit that hard. We were a little bit too tight and he was pretty good on the restart there and we were racing hard. I know that it wasn’t intentional, but it certainly ruined our day. I hate it for Drive To End Hunger. I encourage everybody to text ‘hunger’ to 50555. I hate it for this race team. There were times we had the best car out there and I think we could have got back to that before this thing was over.”

Greg Biffle, who started the race from the pole, maintained the points lead.

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, March 18 2012
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