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Keselowski Wins Michigan Wild One

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, August 15 2009
The racing was side-by-side during Saturday's Nationwide Series race at Michigan International Speedway.  (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images)

The racing was side-by-side during Saturday's Nationwide Series race at Michigan International Speedway. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
RacinToday.com

Brad Keselowski took advantage of a last-lap on-track battle between Brian Vickers and Kyle Busch – a battle which continued on into the pits after the race – to win Saturday’s Nationwide Series race at Michigan International Speedway.

Afterward, Busch called Vickers stupid, Vickers called Busch a cry baby and Keselowski said he knew he would win when he saw the two volatile drivers hammering away at each other over the final eight laps.

Vickers finished second and Busch third, ending a string of second-place finishes but not the frustration of coming up short in the series of which he remains the point leader.

With his finish, and with an early-race crash which sent second-place Carl Edwards to the pits, Busch increased his lead to 339 points.

It sure looked like that lead would expand even more after a restart with six laps to go Saturday.

Vickers had the lead at the green flag and opted to start on the outside. Busch was to the inside.

Coming out of Turn 2, Vickers was able to get a small lead over Busch, but Vickers’ car was clearly having handling problems as he was wiggling and even was drifting sideways as he attempted to fend Busch off.

A wiggle with two laps to go brought Busch even. Meanwhile, Keselowski, who had restarted third, put a run on the front-runners from the outside.

On the final lap, Busch went low, then lower and then below the white line at the bottom of track and Vickers went with him in an attempt to slow Busch.

Keselowski blew past the battling front-runners, took the lead and then took the checkered flag.

Tony Eury Sr., Keselowski’s crew chief explained, “When you get those two guys up front, you always got to put yourself in position” to take the lead should they tangle.

“I saw them bobbling in turns three and four with one lap to go and I knew I had them,” said Keselowski. “I knew it. I knew I could get to the outside and get past the 32 (Vickers). I wasn’t sure about the 18 (Busch). I don’t know what happened to him.”

Keselowski knows what happened at the checkered flag.

“Oh my God, I won at home. I’m speechless,” he said. “I can’t believe it. I’m usually terrible here and to win here is a major accomplishment. It’s so cool to win in front of my hometown fans. I don’t know what you guys saw but it was one heck of a show. I can’t believe I’m in Victory Lane at Michigan. I just can’t believe it. I’ve been coming here since I was four or five years old with my parents. I’m speechless. It’s amazing. It’s awesome. I can’t thank everyone enough who got me to where I am now.”

After the cool-down lap, when the cars headed into the pits, Busch cut Vickers off and blocked him in.

Busch got out of his car and went to the window of Vickers’ car. The two had words.

Busch backed off but Vickers jumped out of his car and went after Busch.

The two drivers were separated before blows or serious pushes could be exchanged.

But in post-race interviews, they exchanged verbal roundhouses.

Busch ripped Vickers, saying he should have been more concerned about Keselowski getting past than trying to keep Busch from winning.

“Just stupid,” Busch said. “Unfortunately, you race with idiots. You have that some times.”

Vickers, told what Busch said, countered, “I’m so sorry. I forgot it was the Kyle Busch show.”

Asked what happened when Busch came to his car window in the pits, Vickers said, “He started crying like a baby” and after Vickers got out of his car, “he ran off.”

– Jim Pedley can be reached at jpedley@racintoday.com

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, August 15 2009
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