Keselowski Conquers the Monster Mile

Keselowski celebrates his 2nd 2012 Chase win at Dover
Photo – Associated Press

By Jason Schultz

The Chase is all about winning – contenders need a few wins to win the championship – and now Brad Keselowski has two wins, three races into the Chase.

Keselowski didn’t lead a single lap until there were ten laps to go but, in the end, Keselowski brought home the victory.

Fuel Mileage cost several drivers a shot at victory, including the dominant car of the day, Kyle Busch. Busch led over 200 laps Sunday afternoon in Dover but having to pit with just eleven laps to go, cost him the victory he had earned with a dominate performance.

Denny Hamlin started the day off right by leading the first 35 laps but on lap 36, Kyle Busch got around Hamlin for the lead.

The first caution of the day didn’t come out until lap 69 for debris in turn three, from the No.36 of J.J Yeley, who had blown a tire.

The race then spread out until the first round of green flag pit stops began on lap 141.

The second caution of the day came out on lap 179 for debris in turn three. The leaders made their way down pit road and Denny Hamlin came out first after his team put on two tires while the rest of the field put on four.

Hamlin couldn’t hold off Kyle Busch on the restart and Busch re-took the lead.

Chase contender Greg Biffle made an unscheduled pit stop on lap 193 for a loose wheel. The halfway mark in the race approached quickly and Kyle Busch still was the leader followed by Hamlin, Johnson, Gordon and Keselowski.

The next yellow flag flew on lap 246 for debris in turn three. The leaders made their way down the pit lane and Kyle Busch came off pit road first.

More trouble for Roush-Fenway Racing occurred on lap 310 when Matt Kenseth broke something on his car and smoke started coming out the rear. Kenseth remained in the race but not for long. The leaders pitted again and Jimmie Johnson beat Kyle Busch off pit road.

Not even one lap after the restart the caution came out again for Matt Kenseth. Kenseth spun off turn four and made contact with the inside wall on the frontstrecth. Kenseth took his car behind the wall. Drivers can have one bad race in the Chase if they still want a shot at the championship and Kenseth had his today.

With 45 laps to go, Kyle Busch re-took the lead from Johnson.

Chase contender Kasey Kahne made an unscheduled pit stop with 39 to go because of a loose wheel. Kahne came in, changed all four tires and then Kahne was penalized for a missing lug nut. Kahne had to pit again and he went multiple laps down.

Drivers who couldn’t make it on fuel started pitting with around ten laps to go. Kyle Busch was the first to come in with eleven laps to go and his teammate Hamlin came in just one lap later. Jimmie Johnson knew how crucial it was for him to not run out of fuel so he started slowing down to save fuel and salvage a decent finish. At one point Johnson had fallen below NASCAR’s minimum speed and he was told to get moving faster. Johnson had enough fuel to finish but it wasn’t the finish he was expecting at one of his best tracks – Dover.

Brad Keselowski had plenty of fuel to finish the race and crossed the finish line first for the second time in the Chase. Keselowski said, “We (his team) keep getting better.”

Previous statistics say that you need a couple of wins in the Chase to win the championship and now Keselowski has two wins, making him much more of a dangerous threat.

Jimmie Johnson wound up ninth and commented after the race that he is “not that good at fuel mileage races.” Johnson was very close to victory today but he wound up fourth. A great run but Johnson expected better at his best track in the Chase.

Denny Hamlin said it was “frustrating in the end,” when he had to pit while running in the top spot. Hamlin has had highs and lows so far in the Chase but Hamlin still remains third in the points.

Other notable Chase drivers finishes include Jeff Gordon in second, Truex Jr in sixth, Hamlin in eighth, Bowyer in ninth, Earnhardt Jr eleventh, Harvick thirteenth, Kahne fifteenth, Biffle sixteenth, Stewart twentieth and Kenseth thirty-fifth. The points took another major shakeup as Keselowski rocketed to the top again after winning. Johnson fell back to second and is five points behind Keselowski. Hamlin is third, sixteen back from Keselowski.

Clint Bowyer jumped up to fourth in the standings and he is only twenty-five back, going into the race he has won the last two years. Truex Jr shot up to eighth in the standings and Jeff Gordon is now tenth. After Dover, we are still talking about Keselowski, Johnson and Hamlin and they are still looking like the three favorites for the championship.

The biggest wild card in the Chase is next at the Talladega Superspeedway. Talladega is sure to bring excitement and it will shake up the points even more. Tune in next Sunday to witness the wildest race of the Chase.

Results via Nascar.com

FIN

ST

CAR

DRIVER

MAKE

SPONSOR

PTS/BNS

LAPS

STATUS

1 10 2 Brad Keselowski Dodge Miller Lite 47/1 400 Running
2 7 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger 43/1 400 Running
3 26 55 Mark Martin Toyota Aaron’s 2000th Store / Bronx, NY 41/0 400 Running
4 11 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe’s / Kobalt Tools 41/1 400 Running
5 15 99 Carl Edwards Ford Fastenal 39/0 400 Running
6 3 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 38/0 400 Running
7 5 18 Kyle Busch Toyota Interstate Batteries 39/2 400 Running
8 1 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Office 37/1 400 Running
9 2 15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 5-hour Energy 36/1 400 Running
10 14 20 Joey Logano Toyota The Home Depot 34/0 400 Running
11 25 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet National Guard / Diet Mountain Dew 33/0 398 Running
12 17 6 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford Cargill 0 397 Running
13 13 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Budweiser 31/0 397 Running
14 16 47 Bobby Labonte Toyota Kingsford 30/0 397 Running
15 9 5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet Farmers Insurance 29/0 397 Running
16 6 16 Greg Biffle Ford Scotch-Brite 28/0 397 Running
17 18 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row / Farm American 27/0 397 Running
18 27 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford Dewalt 26/0 397 Running
19 21 43 Aric Almirola Ford Super 8 25/0 397 Running
20 24 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot / Mobil 1 24/0 397 Running
21 8 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet U.S. Army 23/0 397 Running
22 19 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet Menards / CertainTeed 22/0 396 Running
23 28 51 Kurt Busch Chevrolet Phoenix Construction 21/0 395 Running
24 20 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet McDonald’s 20/0 394 Running
25 4 22 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Shell / Pennzoil 0 393 Running
26 35 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target 18/0 393 Running
27 39 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar 17/0 393 Running
28 38 10 Danica Patrick Chevrolet GoDaddy.com 0 393 Running
29 33 93 Travis Kvapil Toyota Burger King / Dr Pepper 15/0 392 Running
30 31 34 David Ragan Ford Long John Silver’s 14/0 392 Running
31 30 13 Casey Mears Ford GEICO 13/0 391 Running
32 42 38 David Gilliland Ford Taco Bell 12/0 391 Running
33 41 32 T.J. Bell Ford Greensmoke 0 390 Running
34 40 36 J.J. Yeley Chevrolet Drive Sober, Drive Alive DE 10/0 388 Running
35 12 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Ford EcoBoost 9/0 371 Running
36 22 83 Landon Cassill Toyota Burger King / Dr Pepper 8/0 354 Running
37 23 26 Josh Wise * Ford MDS Transport 7/0 92 In Pit
38 32 98 Michael McDowell Ford Phil Parsons Racing 6/0 51 In Pit
39 37 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota AM / FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves 0 48 Out of Race
40 34 195 Scott Speed Ford Jordan Truck Sales 4/0 32 In Pit
41 43 37 Dave Blaney Chevrolet MaxQworkforce
.com
3/0 29 In Pit
42 36 23 Scott Riggs Chevrolet North Texas Pipe 2/0 26 In Pit
43 29 191 Reed Sorenson Chevrolet Plinker Tactical 0 18 In Pit

 

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