Keselowski Goes Back-to-Back, Steals Win at Kentucky

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If you are a drama fan, Saturday night’s Sprint Cup race at Kentucky Speedway provided more than the average amount of nail-biting, edge-of-the-seat excitement that has become common for NASCAR’s premier series in 2016. A re-paved track, a new handling package, tire troubles, pit-road penalties, a fuel-saving finish, even a fire in the parking lot, combined to make the QuakerFord's Brad Keslowskit Kentucky Nascar WinnerState 400 a memorable event.Brad Keselowski, last week’s winner at Daytona, turned an ill-handling race car into a rocket-ship blasting past Kevin Harvick after a restart on lap 198 of the 267 lap race. Harvick had dominated early, leading 128 laps, with only Martin Truex Jr. mounting any serious challenge until Keselowski’s final pass for the lead. Truex trailed Harvick as the top two came to pit-road during the final caution, fast work by the number 78 crew allowed Truex to exit pit-road first to take the lead. However, Truex had passed Harvick as they each jockeyed for position prior to entering their pit-stalls and NASCAR penalized Truex sending him to the back of the lead lap pack of cars.  Keselowski surprised the field, taking the lead after the restart; an even bigger surprise was Keselowski’s ability to squeeze every drop of fuel out of his Ford Fusion and hold the lead to the checkered flag. The Team Penske driver ran an incredible 71 laps on his final fill-up as most of the field pitted late expecting the number 2 car to run out of gas.Joey Logano, Keselowski’s teammate, never found the set-up that allowed him to win at Michigan with the same handling package featured at Kentucky. Even though the Kentucky racetrack had been recently re-paved, tire dragging trucks were brought in prior to the race to work rubber into the track surface. Drivers had to negotiate the tricky corners with the low-downforce rules making it a slippery challenge. Logano tapped the wall early, after sliding too high exiting a turn, and had to use more brakes to position the car properly entering the corners. The number 22 Ford blew a tire just past 50 laps and smacked hard into the outside retaining wall; Logano theorized that overheating brakes caused the tire bead to fail resulting in the accident that ended his evening early.Not long after the start of the race, a cloud of black smoke could be seen drifting over the grandstands. Blimp cameras caught pictures of a pickup truck in the parking lot fully engulfed in flames that had spread to a car parked next to the truck. Reminiscent of the insurance commercial featuring the character “Mayhem”, a barbecue grill was strapped to the front of the truck bed, adjacent to the burning cab of the pickup. No report as to how those fans made it home from the track after the race.Next week’s hot action features a Sunday afternoon stop at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.