Richmond, Va. – Brad Keselowski came from behind to claim victory in the Virginia 529 College Savings 250, the 1000th Nationwide Series race in history. In winning, Keselowski extended the winning streak of Sprint Cup drivers over Nationwide regulars to 19 races.
Said the victor, who has won five of his six most recent Nationwide races, “My crew had a heckuva plan for these cars and they have just executed all year long. We were off on balance, but they got the adjustments right, and the car came alive, which was key to this victory.”
The race was not without controversy as the runner-up driver, Brian Scott, thought that Keselowski jumped him on the last two restarts, but Keselowski rejected that charge.
Regarding the restarts, the winner noted, “Brian had been going deep in the box, and I knew that was going to be his tactic, so I went as soon as we hit the restart box, catching him off-guard.”
He also said that restarts are in inexact science with many variables and compared them to pass-interference calls in football, where officials may have different viewpoints.
Driving the Hertz Ford, Keselowski led only the final 19 laps after dropping back to 15th earlier in the race after an errant pit stop. Thereafter, the Sprint Cup champion steadily worked his way forward running down the likes of Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Regan Smith and race dominator Scott, overhauling the latter in the late going in a pair of restarts.
Scott, who led the first 239 laps, totally dominated the race until caution flags bunched the field at the conclusion, ended up second in the Shore Lodge Chevrolet. His face told the story of his dejection and his voice quivered during the post-race interviews. The young driver felt he had been taken advantage of in the final two restarts and had hoped that NASCAR officials would side with him and recognize that Keselowski jumped the restarts. However, that didn’t happen and Scott came up short, much to his chagrin.
“We had a dominator car and our Camaro was incredible, which was apparent and we had an easy opportunity to lead every lap and to win the race,” he said. “Unfortunately, our whole night was defined by the last two restarts, which I personally feel were questionable. The way I interpret the rule book, the second-place guy can’t beat the first-place guy. I didn’t miss a shift, and I had a decent restart but he still beat me to the line. On the last restart, I was shocked when he went two or three car lengths before the restart zone. He had me cleared before we got to the exit of the zone, and took away the possibility of us contending for the win. We should have been side-by-side going into the corner, but that didn’t happen.”
Regan Smith took third in the Hellman’s Centennial Chevrolet.
Kyle Busch trailed in fourth followed by Trevor Bayne, Sam Hornish Jr., Brian Vickers,
Elliott Sadler, Ryan Reed and Jamie McMurray.
In the point’s race, Hornish leads Austin Dillon by 16 with Smith in third 26 back. Sadler is in fourth 28 behind.