Clean Sweep: Keselowski KO's the Competition
Brad Keselowski Dominates at NHMS
After dropping the American flag out of his window during a victory lap in Saturday's Sta-Green 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series race, Brad Keselowski made sure he wouldn't make the same mistake twice on Sunday. The 2012 Sprint Cup Series champion held on tight to Old Glory after making it a clean sweep in the Camping World RV Sales 301.
Keselowski led 138 of 305 laps, including the last, to become the first driver in track history to sweep both weekend races. Keselowski's win, his first ever victory in the Sprint Cup Series at the Magic Mile, also extended the longest active streak of different Sprint Cup winners. The 13-for-13 streak ties Texas Motor Speedway for the longest streak in NASCAR history.
"Really feels like we hit our stride. I'm kind of quiet and somber because I want to soak it all in," said Keselowski, who is now tied with Jimmie Johnson for the 2014 Sprint Cup Series wins lead with three. "This was such a phenomenal weekend. These don't happen that often and that is what makes it special."
Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (10th) have now clinched a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, assuming they attempt to qualify for the remaining seven races in the regular season.
"This is gratifying in a lot of ways, not just that we have three wins, but we have been leading laps. This year we are executing, we have a lot of momentum and I think we still have a lot of potential left in this team," said Keselowski. "I think we are close, but I want to keep pushing. I am committed to winning another championship."
Pole-sitter Kyle Busch finished second, followed by rookie Kyle Larson (third), 2013 September NHMS winner Matt Kenseth (fourth) and three-time NHMS winner Ryan Newman (fifth). The runner-up finish for Busch was his third straight at New Hampshire.
"I don't think anyone had anything for (Keselowski) all day," said Busch. "We had to save fuel the whole last run. Luckily, we had just enough gas and ran out right at the start-finish (line)."
Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick also late fuel issues. Both ran out before the end of the race, dropping from top-five cars to 26th and 30th, respectively. Denny Hamlin stopped during a late caution, but was able to salvage an eighth-place finish.
The third-place finish for Larson was his fourth career top-five finish.
"We ran up front all day long, got to lead some laps, and it really paid off," said Larson. "We were able to get a good run at the end to take third. It has been a tough few weeks and now we just got to get up into points."
Rounding out the top-10 were Clint Bowyer, Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Earnhardt Jr.
- Jimmie Johnson, a three-time winner at New Hampshire, had a tire go down twice very early on and finished 42nd.
- Joey Logano, who got his first-career Sprint Cup Series win at New Hampshire in 2009, finished 40th after being taken out by a lap car (Morgan Shepherd) on Lap 209.
- Eddie MacDonald of Rowley, Mass., made his Sprint Cup Series debut and finished 35th.
- Defending July race champion Brian Vickers finished 21st.