NASCAR: Ke­selowski wins at Ken­tucky

The Standard Journal - - National Sports -

Ke­selowski started from the pole and led the first 78 laps of the race. For much of the night, his clos­est com­pe­ti­tion came from Logano, who three times beat Ke­selowski back onto the track af­ter pit stops.

Aric Almirola’s wreck on Lap 214 brought out a cau­tion just af­ter sev­eral teams be­gan green-flag pit stops. Kyle Busch, one of those who had stopped, held the race lead on the restart on Lap 220. Ke­selowski, among those who had to pit, lined up sixth.

Busch did his best to hold off Ke­selowski’s ad­vance, but Ke­selowski moved back out front on Lap 248 and led the rest of the way.

“We had good speed, so I was real proud of that ef­fort,” said Busch, who fin­ished sec­ond. “I got so loose there at the end – the loos­est I’d got­ten all day and the loos­est I’d been in traf­fic all day, too.

“I just couldn’t hold on and couldn’t keep it where I wanted it, and was slid­ing all over the place and just try­ing not to wreck ba­si­cally.”

Ryan New­man fin­ished third — his best fin­ish of the sea­son. Matt Kenseth re­bounded from a flat tire and pit-road speed­ing penalty to fin­ish fourth, and Dale Earn­hardt Jr. was fifth.

Points leader Jeff Gor­don ended up sixth and holds a 24-point ad­van­tage over Hen­drick Mo­tor­sports team­mate Jim­mie John­son.

Re­gard­less of the per­for­mance thus far, nei­ther Ke­selowski nor crew chief Paul Wolfe plan to rest on what they’ve ac­com­plished this sea­son.

“We’re about half­way through the sea­son now, and I feel like Team Penske has done a great job at re­spond­ing to the rule changes,” Wolfe said.

“But there’s still a lot to be learned or gained with this pack­age, so it’s im­por­tant for us to con­tinue to work hard and keep build­ing off of this mo­men­tum as we get ready to run for an­other cham­pi­onship.” Ke­selowski agrees. “This harkens back some mem­o­ries of 2012, which I’m very fond of,” he said. “Last year was a very hum­bling year for us, so I think I prob­a­bly ap­pre­ci­ate it even more.

“I ap­pre­ci­ate the op­por­tu­nity to have races like this and op­por­tu­ni­ties to run for a cham­pi­onship.”

James Crisp/AP

Brad Ke­selowski scratches his head with his ban­daged hand at the news con­fer­ence af­ter the NASCAR Sprint Cup se­ries auto race Satur­day, June 28, 2014 at Ken­tucky Speed­way in Sparta, Ky.

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