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Keselowski Was A Cell Out In Winning At Kentucky

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, July 10 2016
Brad Keselowski won Saturday night's Sprint Cup race but needed a push form track workers to get his fuel depleted car to Victory Lane. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Alan Marler)

Brad Keselowski won Saturday night’s Sprint Cup race but needed a push form track workers to get his fuel depleted car to Victory Lane. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Alan Marler)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
RacinToday.com

Thanks to a fast car and dead-on fuel management, Brad Keselowski notched his fourth Sprint Cup Series victory of the season Saturday night when he won at Kentucky Speedway.

Dead-on fuel management? Keselowski crossed the finish line at the newly repaved Kentucky 1.5-sprint-logo-08mile track with a fuel cell, the contents of which, could be measured in drops instead of gallons.

His Team Penske went dry before he could celebrate with a burnout and it had to be pushed to Victory Lane.

“We knew the fuel mileage,” Keselowski said “We went out and we set a really fast pace there on that restart and were just using fuel, and then it became obvious that you were going to have to save fuel at the end, but I already used so much.

“It’s a testament to our guys to have the fuel mileage that we did to be able to get back what I burnt early in the run and get the Miller Lite Ford in Victory Lane. Usually these repaves are kind of my Achilles heel, but to get a win here at Kentucky… I know it’s been a good track for us in the past, but this isn’t the same Kentucky, I can tell you that.”

Finishing second, .175 seconds behind, was Carl Edwards in a Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. With Keselowski in fuel-saving mode, Edwards was able to pare six seconds off of the lead over the final 10 laps.

He needed to pare still more.

“Yeah, I thought he was out of fuel coming off of (Turn) 4,” Edwards said.

“I guess I’m impressed that he did beat me, but I don’t want to be. He waited. He basically shut the car off and went right off of 4 and matched it perfectly to where I couldn’t get by him down the front straightaway, and then he ran like heck through 1 and 2, and then I thought maybe he’ll run out down the back straight. Man, I dove it down in there trying to catch him into 3, and I couldn’t even get to him.”

Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. dominated the first two-thirds of the event, leading 128 and 46 laps, respectively.

But, they finished ninth and 10th respectively.

Ryan Newman finished third and Kurt Busch fourth.

Tony Stewart, who needs to finish be in the top 30 in points to earn a Chase birth after missing several races early in the seasaon, finished fifth.

Good points night, it was suggest to the three-time champ who is retiring after the 2016 season.

“Yeah.” Stewart said, “and especially with the way the first half of this race went we got in survival mode there and still wanted to race hard, but you didn’t want to do anything that was going to jeopardize finishing the race and capitalizing on the misfortune of the guys that are around us in points had.  You are not really going to race anywhere else the rest of the year like this, so I don’t think it’s an indication of what our season is going to be like, but we ran anywhere from 11th to 22nd, pretty much just stayed in that range all day.

“It was just really tricky on restarts of being able to stay around cars. Kasey Kahne drove around me on the outside once and I about wrecked.  It chattered the right-rear and all he did was just drive around me just like Pocono.  It’s kind of hard when you have conditions like that.  The track is going to be fine.  NASCAR did the right thing.  It’s easy to point the finger at Goodyear, but they had to do what they thought was right and what was conservative for them.  It is just way too hard and the wrecks kind of proved that.”

Up front, it was not wrecks and tires with which Keselowski and his team were concerned.

The final fuel run gave Paul Wolfe, Keselowski’s crew chief, the jitters.

“It’s definitely an emotional rollercoaster for sure the last few laps of that race,” Wolfe said. “When we pitted, I guess it was with about 70 to go, we knew that everyone was a little bit short.  I feel like we’ve been on the good side of the fuel mileage this year.  All the guys at Roush Yates (his team’s engine builders) have worked hard to give us power and mileage, and that showed up again tonight.  With that being said, we were kind of expecting to maybe see some cautions as we did early in the race, so it wasn’t really a big concern.  But with 20 to go it was time to start making decisions.

“As you saw, some of the guys running fifth or sixth peeled off with maybe 15-16 to go and then it was kind of decision time on what do we do.  We knew we couldn’t make it.  We knew we were short, but as we got out there and got the lead in that final run Brad started saving and he’s one of the best in the business at saving fuel, so as we got down to 10 to go he was like, ‘Make the call on what you want me to do.’  I kind of know what our strengths are and that’s definitely saving fuel, and I went with that strategy and told him to a 10 on the scale of save mode.

“Everyone else – I think the 20 ran out – and that gave us a big cushion back to the 19.  I think it was 10 or 12 seconds, so that really allowed us to start saving, but when it comes down to it we were out.  We were totally out at the start-finish line, so it couldn’t have timed out any better.”

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NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race – Quaker State 400 Presented by Advance Auto Parts

Kentucky Speedway

Sparta, Kentucky

Saturday, July 09, 2016

  1. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 267.
  2. (5) Carl Edwards, Toyota, 267.
  3. (14) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 267.
  4. (3) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 267.
  5. (22) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 267.
  6. (23) Greg Biffle, Ford, 267.
  7. (16) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 267.
  8. (11) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 267.
  9. (1) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 267.
  10. (7) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 267.
  11. (17) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 267.
  12. (6) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 267.
  13. (13) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 267.
  14. (18) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 267.
  15. (10) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 267.
  16. (12) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 267.
  17. (27) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 266.
  18. (24) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 266.
  19. (20) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 266.
  20. (26) Aric Almirola, Ford, 266.
  21. (36) * Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, 266.
  22. (31) David Ragan, Toyota, 265.
  23. (25) Clint Bowyer, Chevrolet, 265.
  24. (40) * Josh Wise, Chevrolet, 264.
  25. (30) Ty Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 264.
  26. (37) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 264.
  27. (39) * Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 262.
  28. (38) Jeffrey Earnhardt #, Ford, 262.
  29. (29) Landon Cassill, Ford, 261.
  30. (28) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 246.
  31. (8) Chase Elliott #, Chevrolet, 210.
  32. (9) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, Accident, 208.
  33. (32) Brian Scott #, Ford, Accident, 151.
  34. (33) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, Accident, 150.
  35. (15) * Ryan Blaney #, Ford, 143.
  36. (19) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, Accident, 103.
  37. (34) Chris Buescher #, Ford, Accident, 92.
  38. (35) Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, Accident, 79.
  39. (4) Joey Logano, Ford, Accident, 52.
  40. (21) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, Accident, 9.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  128.583 mph.

Time of Race:  3 Hrs, 06 Mins, 53 Secs. Margin of Victory:  0.175 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  11 for 53 laps.

Lead Changes:  16 among 9 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   K. Harvick 1-27; Kurt Busch 28-37; K. Harvick 38-54; B. Keselowski 55-62; M. Truex Jr. 63-82; K. Harvick 83; D. Ragan 84-85; K. Harvick 86-145; A. Dillon 146; M. Kenseth 147; D. Patrick 148-149; T. Dillon(i) 150; M. Truex Jr. 151-176; K. Harvick 177-199; B. Keselowski 200-260; M. Kenseth 261; B. Keselowski 262-267.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  K. Harvick 5 times for 128 laps; B. Keselowski 3 times for 75 laps; M. Truex Jr. 2 times for 46 laps; Kurt Busch 1 time for 10 laps; M. Kenseth 2 times for 2 laps; D. Ragan 1 time for 2 laps; D. Patrick 1 time for 2 laps; A. Dillon 1 time for 1 lap; T. Dillon(i) 1 time for 1 lap.

Top 16 in Points: K. Harvick – 599; B. Keselowski – 595; Kurt Busch – 583; C. Edwards – 566; J. Logano – 533; Kyle Busch – 521; M. Truex Jr. – 514; C. Elliott # – 492; J. Johnson – 484; M. Kenseth – 477; D. Hamlin – 472; R. Newman – 463; D. Earnhardt Jr. – 461; A. Dillon – 460; J. Mcmurray – 439; T. Bayne – 429.

 

 

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, July 10 2016
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