Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords
Brad Keselowski Toyota Care 250 at Richmond
Defending Spring Cup Champ Scores First Nationwide Victory of 2013 Season
After joining the Ford camp at the beginning of the 2013 season, defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Brad Keselowski has racked up quite a few second place finishes, but victory lane has been just out of reach. Finally, he was able to seal the deal with a trip to the winner's circle at the Richmond International Raceway by winning the Toyota Care 250.
His Richmond win marks Keselowski's 21st trip to victory lane in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Keselowski led the race four times for a total of 35 laps, including the last 10. Travis Pastrana led the three car Roush Fenway contingent with his career-high finish of 9th place. Trevor Bayne drove the EcoBoost Ford Mustang to 12th and Ryan Reed made his Nationwide Series debut for Roush Fenway in the American Diabetes Association Mustang, finishing 16th. Reed Sorensen, still subbing for the injured Michael Annett, finished 10th in King Richard Petty's Flying J Travel Plaza Ford.
Even though Keselowski qualified on the pole in the 40 car field, things were a little rocky for Brad early in the race. Not so for Penske teammate Sam Hornish, Jr. His Alliance Truck Parts Mustang took the lead on lap 5 and held the top spot for the next 82 laps. "If it were a race for the first third of it we would have been pretty darn good. We just got way too free and couldn't make ourselves any better as the night went on," said Hornish, Jr. "I guess we bookended it. We led early and Brad led late and it's good to get a Mustang in Victory Lane." Sam would end up in 7th position and still maintains the Nationwide Series points lead.
Keselowski and crew chief Jeremy Bullins worked on the SKF / Discount Tire Mustang all night to fix a loose condition. "First off, we obviously had a pretty good car to sit on the pole," said Keselowski. "Jeremy did the right thing to get us to where we needed to be at the end. We had a fast car at the end and it was just a matter of putting it in the right position. I got a small opportunity when Kyle bobbled down in three and four and used it to get a run to take the lead going into turn one with about nine or 10 to go, and that was all she wrote."
Keselowski's win was the 198th victory for Ford in the Nationwide Series. The next Nationwide race will be at the famed Talladega Superspeedway.