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Keselowski Loves These Bricks, Wins First Nationwide Race at IMS
July 28th 2012 - NASCAR Indiana 250 Nationwide Series
by Paul Gohde - July 28, 2012 - Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Speedway, Indiana

Danica crashes/ Sadler is black-flagged/ Kyle spins/ Brad wins #100 for the Captain.

These things, and more surrounded Brad Keselowski’s win, Saturday, in the inaugural Indiana 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Keselowski, and Penske teammate Sam Hornish Jr., dominated the latter stages of a race that featured a bit of everything for the 40,000 or so fans gathered to watch the inaugural Indiana 250.

Hornish, who started 13th in the Penske Dodge, took the lead for the first time on lap 65 after yellow flag pit stops scrambled the field, moving Kyle Busch’s leading Toyota to fifth on the restart.

Hornish gave up the lead to Keselowski on lap 72 and the duo held serve until the checkered flag.
But it was the final stop on lap 79 that provided the drama and secured the Penske sweep.

Kyle Busch spun in Turn One after light contact with Hornish and the drama was about to begin; first in the pits and then on the track.

“Our guys beat everybody out on four tires. There were some guys who took two, but we felt like if there were that many laps to go, four tires was the way to go,” said the first time winner at IMS. “I told the crew that we had to get out toward the front and we came out first. We were the first car on four tires and that was the difference.”

But while restarting on lap 83 in first place was good, the drama was building when series points-leader Elliot Sadler restarted outside of Keselowski and bolted to the lead at the green. NASCAR black-flagged him for jumping the start and Sadler reluctantly served a pass-through penalty on lap 89 that relegated him to 15th at the finish and gave the race lead back to Keselowski with Hornish not far behind.

“I don’t have a complete picture of what happened. I got a push from Sam and it was more than I could take. I wasn’t going full throttle but I was not in the zone when Elliott took off,” said Keselowwski, who had a better view of what happened than most. “It appeared that he got a push from behind as well (possibly from Austin Dillon) and maybe just couldn’t slow down. Obviously NASCAR saw something they didn’t like and made a call accordingly. That’s their job.”

And though there was much discussion about the call that changed the race, it was Team Penske that was in the right-place-at-the-right time to snatch the win. Many felt that a similar incident at the start of the event involving Kyle Busch bolting in front of pole-sitter Kasey Kahne should have been penalized in the same way as Sadler’s. But Busch received no black flag for his indiscretion. The explanation given was that Kahne spun his tires at the drop of the green as Busch accelerated for the start.

Danica Patrick was expected to use her open wheel experience to gain an advantage as she returned to the track that helped make her famous. But her 20th starting spot didn’t reveal any advantage, and a crash on lap38 made for a short day after contact with Reed Sorenson in Turn 1.

“The car was pretty tight to start and my crew chief took a pretty big swing at it on the first stop. The car was better and we were working our way through,” noted the soon-to-be Sprint Cup regular. “We were picking them off one-by-one and got up to the 98 (Sorenson) and into (turn) 1 he slowed it down quite a bit and I was pretty hard on the brakes.” Patrick tapped the rear of Sorenson’s car and his spin collected her car and sent it into the wall. “I think I just tapped him a little bit-I am sorry if I did anything to affect his day but I didn’t mean to.”

The win was the 100th for the Penske team in NASCAR competition and the 20th series win for Keselowski.

“Everybody knows how special Indy is and any win you can have here, whether it’s the 500 or the Brickyard Sunday, or the first Nationwide race is special. I’m glad to do it for Roger,” noted the winner.

I’m sure he’s watching (on TV).

And will he tease him for not being here? “You’re damn right! “