Brad Keselowski grabbed a piece of NASCAR Nationwide Series history on Saturday by becoming the first series winner at Indianapolis Motor Speedway when he took the checkered flag in the Indy 250.
“Glad to do it for (car owner) Roger (Penske),” Keselowski said in victory lane.
The first Nationwide race, ever, at IMS produced a one-two finish for Penske Racing, with Keselowski’s teammate Sam Hornish Jr. claiming runner-up honors.
“Congratulations to everyone at Penske Racing — a one-two finish,” Keselowski’s crew chief Jeremy Bullins told an ESPN reporter at the conclusion of the race.
First Nationwide race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway aside, the win was a milestone victory for Penske Racing.
“This is the 100th win for Roger in NASCAR,” Keselowski said.
Keselwoski wasn’t the only winner at Indy on Saturday. Michael Annett, with a sixth-place finish, captured the $100,000 Nationwide Dash 4 Cash bonus by being the highest finisher among the four drivers eligible for the bonus at IMS.
“We’re not kissing the bricks (tradition for race winners at the track), but we got a big carboard check to lay our lips on,” Annett said.
After last weekend’s race at Chicagoland, Annett didn’t realize that he’d be eligible for the Indianapolis bonus, as he was actually the fifth-highest-finishing series regular at Chicagoland Speedway. But the fourth-highest finisher in that race, Kenny Wallace, didn’t earn points because he was a late entry for Chicagoland. Annett replaced Wallace as a Dash 4 Cash driver this weekend through a technicality.
Kyle Busch dominated the first half of the race, getting by pole sitter Kasey Kahne on lap one to take the lead at the start of the race. He fell back to fourth on a pit stop during the competition caution that came out after the completion of lap 15 of the 100-lap race, but by lap 38, Busch had reassumed the lead by getting by Keselowski.
Busch continued to lead until the third caution of the race came out for debris with 37 laps to go. With several drivers taking only two tires for track position, Busch was shuffled by to ninth for the restart. Hornish restarted with the lead, and Keselowski joined him in second soon after the race went back to green to give Penske the top-two spots in the running order.
Keselowski took the lead from his teammate with 29 laps to go. Busch fell out of contention to win a few laps later when he spun on a restart with 22 laps to go.
After the fifth caution of the reace, resulting from Busch’s spin, Keselowski and Elliott Sadler restarted first and second. Sadler got out to the lead when the race restarted, but NASCAR black flagged him for jumping the restart. Sadler and his No. 2 team pleaded their case to NASCAR, insisting that Keselowski spun his tires while Sadler was pushed by his Richard Childress Racing teammate Austin Dillon.
The No. 2 team was unable to convince NASCAR officials, and the penalty stood. As a result, Sadler headed down pit road for a pass-through penalty. He wound up finishing 15th.
Keselowski assumed the lead when Sadler headed down pit road. He and Hornish ran one-two the rest of the way.
Ty Dillon finished third in only his second-career Nationwide Series start. Denny Hamlin finihsed fourth, and Austin Dillon rounded out the top-five.
Qualifying for the Dash 4 Cash bonus to be awarded next Saturday at Iowa Speedway were Annett, by virtue of being the IMS bonus winner, Hornish, Austin Dillon and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who finished ninth.
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