Brad Keselowski blitzes Kentucky for third Cup win in 2012

Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway on June 30, 2012 in Sparta, Kentucky. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway on June 30, 2012 in Sparta, Kentucky. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

SPARTA, Ky. — Building a big lead during the final green-flag run and saving enough fuel to get to the end of the race, Brad Keselowski won Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race in a backup car.

Keselowski, who wrecked his primary car after tangling with Juan Pablo Montoya in Friday’s first practice session for the race, picked up his series-best third victory of the season and the seventh of his career, all but assuring himself of a position in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Kasey Kahne rallied from an unscheduled pit stop on Lap 52 to finish second, followed by Denny Hamlin and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jeff Gordon came home fifth, one spot in front of pole-sitter Jimmie Johnson, as Hendrick Motorsports drivers claimed four of the top six positions.

Ignition troubles ruined defending series champion Tony Stewart’s night almost before it started. Stewart’s No. 14 Chevrolet fell off the pace on Lap 26. By the time his team diagnosed and fixed the problem in the garage, Stewart was 35 laps down.

A bad night got worse for Stewart-Haas Racing on Lap 210, when Ryan Newman, Stewart’s teammate, blew his engine, spun in his own oil and slammed into the outside wall in Turn 2, with Regan Smith hitting the wall behind him.

Clint Bowyer, last week’s winner at Sonoma, was the innocent victim of contact that jeopardized his seventh-place position in the standings. Shortly after a restart on Lap 155, Bowyer was racing in close quarters with Newman, on new tires, and Joey Logano, who took fuel only during a pit stop under caution on Lap 150.

With a huge run off Turn 4, Newman clipped the back of Logano’s Toyota in the tri-oval, turning him into Bowyer’s Camry. On Lap 166, Bowyer brought his car to pit road, fearing he had a tire losing air. Bowyer lost two laps in the process and fell to 32nd in the running order.

But a cycle of green-flag stops and a free pass as the highest-scored lapped car returned Bowyer to the lead lap under the caution for Newman’s wreck, and the driver of the No. 15 Toyota salvaged a 16th-place finish.

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.