Keselowski dominates, but survives for Iowa win

August 2, 2014 No Comments
Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

By Mark Schafer

NEWTON, Iowa — He had the lead and the win in the bag. His mind was starting to  focus on the flight home to Pocono where he will be racing for the win on Sunday.

However then a flash of yellow brought him back to reality, at least, for a few laps. When James Buescher got into the wall, everything that seemed like it was in the bag had changed for then race leader, Brad Keselowski. Although he dominated the Iowa night race, it wasn’t over yet.

Instead of cruising to a one or two second victory, Keselowski had to make a decision that could decide if he would win the race or not.

With eight laps to go the caution flag waved and the decision was made by Jeremy Bullins, the No. 22 crew chief on if he should pit. The decision was to come in for two tires.

“These wins are not easy to come by,” said Brad Keselowski after the race. “I went into turn two and I lost the lead, but somehow Michael [McDowell] slipped up and in three I was able to get the lead back.”

On the last restart of the race, McDowell and Keselowski were in a dead-heat drag race for the win – at least for a few seconds – as the two drivers entered turn two it was the No. 20 car that took the lead for the first time of the race.

McDowell led for a lap, and was starting to pulling away the next time the two drivers entered turns one and two.

Down the back stretch McDowell had the lead in hand, but then he went into turn three just a little too hard.

“I went after it a little too much into three and slipped up the hill,” McDowell admitted. “It is a tough situation. If you go too hard into the turn like I did then you are going to slip up. If you take the turn too lightly then you are going to lose the lead too. So, I think you just have to go as hard as you can, but not too hard.”

After slipping up the hill in three, the No. 22 of Keselowski slipped under the 20 for the lead, and like he had done all night, he never looked in the rear view mirror to see if McDowell or the rest of the field would catch him.

There was a simple reason for him to glance in the rear view mirror. All night long Keselowski had dominated the race and he finished the night by dominating the last lap. Despite his domination the night it came to the pit stop just prior to the green-white-checkered finish.

Bullins decision to take two tires was risky, but it proved to be the right one.

“I didn’t want to stay out. I didn’t want to take four,” Bullins said after the race. “I felt like on even ground we would be able to hold off the field. That give us a cushion that we could work with.”

As it turned out the cushion held, as Brad Keselowski held onto the race win. His car was the fastest on the track as he hardly spent time out of the lead. On the night the No. 22 was out front for 148 of the 250 laps.

Sam Hornish Junior, who won at Iowa in May, proved to be one of the closest competitors all night long, but in the end it was Keselowski who was able to run him down every time and take the lead away. For Keselowski this win may have been more than just another victory in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, where he is ineligible for points. It is a sendoff to a track where he now has three wins.

“This isn’t a track where we circle and want to send a cup driver to,” Keselowski said. “The schedule just works out so that when this race comes we have to send a cup driver. However, as of right now, I think that tonights race will be the last time that I will race at Iowa Speedway.”

With this being the last race that Keselowski will pilot a car in the Nationwide it is a good send off for the thirty year old driver who has just earned his 30th win in the NASCAR Nationwide series.

On Sunday he gets to chase down his another win as he flies to Pocono, Penn., to race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Race Results:

1. Brad Keselowski

2. Michael McDowell

3. Trevor Bayne

4. Sam Hornish Jr.

5. Ty Dillon

6. Regan Smith

7. Brian Scott

8. Chase Elliott

9. Dylan Kwasniewski

10. Elliott Sadler

11. Brendan Gaughan

12. Josh Berry

13. Landon Cassill

14. Chris Buescher

15. Ryan Reed

16. Mike Blis

17. JJ Yeley

18. Chase Pistone

19. Kenny Wallace

20. Ryan Sieg

21. Dakoda Armstrong

22. Chad Boat

23. Eric McClure

24. Joey Gase

25. Jeremy Clements

26. James Buescher

27. Jamie Dick

28. Hal Martin

29. Kevin Swindell

30. Matt Dibendetto

31. Jeffery Earnhardt

32. Carl Long

33. Josh Reaume

34. Derrike Cope

35. Tanner Berryhill

36. Morgan Shepherd

37. Josh Jackson

38. Blake Koch

39. Mike Harmon

40. Matt Frahm

 

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