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Keselowski charges to win at Kentucky

6/29/2014

By Greg Billing

McClatchy-Tribune

A day after setting the track record a Kentucky Speedway, Brad Keselowski set the standard for success on Saturday.

Well, excluding his Victory Lane celebration.

Keselowski capped an outstanding three days of racing at the 1.5-mile, tri-oval by holding off Kyle Busch to win the Quaker State 400 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Soon after his run to the finish line, Keselowski made a dash to the infield care center. He smacked a champagne bottle on the podium as he was shaking it and opened a cut requiring four stitches on his right hand.

"We were playing around with some champagne bottles and as I told my good friend, 'We should have stuck with beer,'" Keselowski said. "Yeah, welcome to the party. It's all good. I'm just glad we won. It's a lot better story when you win and get hurt."

The driver of the No. 2 Penske Miller Lite Ford, who led a race-high 199 laps, started sixth on the final restart on Lap 220 of the 267-lap race. He methodically moved through the field and caught up to Busch and worked past him with 19 laps left.

Busch -- who led 31 laps -- had nothing left to challenge in his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing machine and finished second, 1.015 seconds behind Keselowski.

Ryan Newman, Matt Kenseth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounded out the top five. Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Joey Logano and Jimmie Johnson completed the top 10.

Logano was the only other driver to lead laps, turning 37 of them in first place.

"We want another Sprint Cup. I really want another one," Keselowski said from Victory Lane. "It feels really good to get back to this form. I think I appreciate it now than I did before."

The win was the second of the season for Keselowski. He also became the first driver to repeat in the Sprint Cup Series at Kentucky, also winning in 2012.

With the win Keselowski said it's starting to feel like 2012 again when he won the Sprint Cup championship.

"We're getting close to that position if we keep working like this," Keselowski said.

The win capped an eventful weekend for Keselowski. He finished fifth in the Camping World Truck Series race on Thursday and second in the Nationwide Series on Friday. He also set the track record with his qualifying lap of 28.603 seconds (188.791 mph).

It's a track Keselowski is starting to love, bumps and all. He's led a series-high 346 laps at Kentucky Speedway in four starts.

Tony Stewart, scheduled to start 13th, dropped to the field after making adjustments to his car following Friday qualifying. He charged through the field from 42nd and finished 11th.

Elsewhere, Urbana native Josh Sell, chief engineer on the Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates No. 1 car, saw his chances of a win go up in smoke on lap 154. Alex Bowman spun coming out of Turn 2 sending a plume of smoke across the track. Jamie McMurray got caught up in the accident and went straight to the garage for repairs.