Brad Keselowski rolled the dice and came up with a winning hand Saturday scoring a dominating victory in the NASCAR Nationwide Series History Channel 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Keselowski held off a late race charge by Denny Hamlin to score his first Nationwide win of 2012 and the 17th of his Nationwide career.
The 2010 series champion took control from Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne just past the mid-point of the 200 lap race, passing Kahne on Lap 136. A caution period only a few laps later gave the team the opportunity to make a call to leave Keselowski out while most of the top ten came in.
That proved with the winning strategy as Keselowski was able to pull away to a nearly two second lead at one point. He said he wasn’t worried that he would run out of fuel despite his crew chief’s assurances.
“No, if Jeremy (crew chief, Jeremy Bullins) says we’re going to make I believe it,” Keselowski said. “And I will be until he proves me wrong.”
Hamlin staged a strong run in the second half of the race, overcoming an early stop on pit road for a mechanical issue that left him a lap down. He charged his way through the field to finish second. Kyle Busch came home third with Harvick and Elliott Sadler rounding out the top five.
“It was eventful,” Hamlin said. “We just didn’t have the car today. I complained about the motor, we tried to change the carburetor; that didn’t work. We’ve just got to get better with our race day adjustments.”
Series point’s leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr., took a hit in the points. After running in the top five at the state the driveshaft on his Ford came out on lap 65. Stenhouse and his crew was able to repair it and he rejoined the race 21 laps down. He would finish the day 26 and hold onto his championship lead, but lost points and now leads by only 13 markers over Sadler. The loss of points won’t change Stenhouse’s outlook moving forward however.
“It doesn’t at all,” he said. “We’re going to go out to win every week. That’s what we do every weekend and I think we’re going to have a shot at it next weekend.”
Pole sitter Joey Logano was sixth, James Buescher seventh, with Kahne and Justin Allgaier rounding out the top ten.
In her debut at Charlotte, Danica Patrick ran inside the top ten at times, overcame losing the lead lap and finished a respectable 13. Travis Pastrana had a less then enjoyable debut; he spun twice and finished 24.
The series moves to Dover International Speedway next week.
For more NASCAR News and NASCAR Commentary, follow me on Twitter and Facebook or visit CupScene.com.