Ke­selowski keeps Kenseth in check, cap­tures vic­tory at Bris­tol

The Washington Times Daily - - Sports - BY JENNA FRYER

BRIS­TOL, TENN. | Brad Ke­selowski used Bris­tol Mo­tor Speed­way last fall to ce­ment his spot in NAS­CAR’S cham­pi­onship race.

Back at the track Sun­day, Ke­selowski again made his way to vic­tory lane.

And he again be­gan to think about a Sprint Cup ti­tle.

Ke­selowski led a ca­reer-best and race-high 231 laps, then held off Day­tona 500 win­ner Matt Kenseth on a late restart to cruise to his first vic­tory of the sea­son.

“What can I say? I love Bris­tol and Bris­tol loves me,” Ke­selowski, said. “The goal at Penske Rac­ing is to win a Sprint Cup cham­pi­onship, and one win cer­tainly doesn’t achieve that, but it’s a great step.”

The Chase for the Sprint Cup cham­pi­onship has a wild card pro­vi­sional for the win­ningest driver not oth­er­wise el­i­gi­ble. Ke­selowski’s win at Bris­tol last Au­gust was his third of the sea­son and gave him the pro­vi­sional that al­lowed him to race for the ti­tle.

Now, just a month into the sea­son, he’s fo­cused on col­lect­ing vic­to­ries.

“One win is good; two wins is re­ally good,” Ke­selowski said. “We need to keep win­ning races to lock our­selves in the Chase, but heck, I’d rather just go into the Chase in the top spot. If we run like we have the last few weeks, we’ve got as good a shot as any­body else.”

Ke­selowski nar­rowly es­caped an early seven-car ac­ci­dent, worked his way to­ward the front, then set­tled in for a tight bat­tle with Kenseth over the final third of the race. Kenseth beat Ke­selowski on one of their restarts — fans com­plained in­stantly on Twit­ter that Kenseth had jumped the start — and Ke­selowski had to run him back down to re­claim the lead.

But a late cau­tion when Tony Ste­wart hit the wall put Ke­selowski’s win in jeop­ardy.

“I’ve got no clue what to do here,” he ra­dioed crew chief Paul Wolfe, who de­cided to leave Ke­selowski on the track and not bring him in to the pits un­der cau­tion.

Then Ke­selowski had to de­cide which lane to choose for the final restart, and his decision to take the out­side may have sealed the win.

“I knew as long as I could beat him on the first lap, I knew I had a good enough car and I’m a good enough driver to win,” Ke­selowski said. “Matt didn’t make it easy. That’s his job, to not make it easy on me. He raced me hard; I raced him hard, rubbed a lit­tle bit. That’s good rac­ing.”

Kenseth set­tled for sec­ond in his Roush Fen­way Rac­ing Ford.

“He should have started on the bot­tom, for me; un­for­tu­nately he didn’t,” said Kenseth, who also de­nied jump­ing the ear­lier restart.

Ke­selowski said judg­ing the restarts was “too sub­jec­tive” and that a no-call by NAS­CAR “was the right call.”


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