Keselowski wins Loudon with late-race pass

Keselowski wins Loudon with late-race pass
Jul 14, 2012, 10:24 PM

Amanda Vincent, NASCAR Correspondent

After leading most of the F.W. Webb 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday, Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 22 Penske Racing Dodge, lost the lead to the No. 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet of Kevin Harvick on a restart following a lap 50 caution. But Harvick got caught behind a lapped car with 22 laps to go in the 200-lap event, allowing Keselowski to retake the lead and sail on to his first win at NHMS.

"Sometimes it (lap traffic) goes against you," Keselowski said in victory lane. "Today it went for us."

Harvick was forced to settle for second. His RCR teammate, Austin Dillon in the No. 3 Chevrolet, finished third and claimed the Nationwide Dash 4 Cash $100,000 bonus for being the highest finisher among the four drivers eligible for the New Hampshire leg of the program.

"That's a lot of money man," Dillon said. "That's awesome."

Brad Keselowski
Brad Keselowski

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

Keselowski started on the pole and led until the first caution of the race came out for debris on lap 36. Keselowski took four tires during the yellow, but several others, including Kasey Kahne in the No. 38 Turner Motorsports Chevrolet and Dillon took two and restarted the race in the first two spots.

As a result of the four-tire stop, Keselowski restarted outside the top-five, but he made his way up to the third spot by lap 65.

Kahne and Dillon continued to run first and second until another caution came out on lap 81 when Travis Pastrana had a tire issue in the No. 99 RAB Racing Toyota and made hard contact with the wall.

This time around, Kahne and Dillon took four tires, while Keselowski and Cole Whitt in the No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet took two. Keselowski restarted back up front. On lap 99, the No. 12 Penske Racing Dodge of Sam Hornish Jr. got around Whitt to give Penske the top-two spots in the running order.

The Penske duo ran one and two until Harvick passed Hornish for the second spot on lap 33.

The fourth and final caution of the race came out on lap 150. Keselowski beat Harvick off pit road after both drivers took only two tires, but Harvick was able to claim the lead on the restart.

"It's (taking two tires) just one of those things," No. 22 crew chief Jeremy Bullins said. "You just do it and hope it works."

Harvick pulled away from Keselowski slightly but then got caught up behind the No. 24 of Amber Cope in the final laps, breaking his momentum and allowing Keselowski to blow by.

"I caught a little bit of a break in traffic," Keselowski said.

Harvick eventually got around Cope, but was unable to get back by Keselowski.

"The No. 24, every time you come to her, she doesn't know where she's going," Harvick said.

Hornish finished fourth, and Stenhouse, another Dash 4 Cash driver finished fifth.

The other two drivers eligible for the Dash 4 Cash bonus at NHMS were Elliott Sadler, driver of the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, and Michael Annett, driver of the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford. Sadler finished seventh, and Annett was 11th.

Dillon, by virtue of being the New Hampshire Dash winner, is eligible for the bonus in next weekend's race at Chicagoland Speedway. Hornish, Stenhouse and Sadler are the other three who'll be vying for the next $100,000 bonus by being the top-three series championship-eligible drivers, aside from the NHMS bonus winner, in Saturday's race.

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