Sunday, June 8, 2008

Brad Keselowski finds the winning rhythm at Nashville for Nationwide first win

Almost two years ago, Brad Keselowski was without a full-time ride in any major NASCAR series, last running a full schedule in 2005 for his family-owned owned Craftsman truck team. While his future looked uncertain through acquiring a few limited rides, one of those rides was made available at Memphis Motorsports Park when Ted Musgrave drew a one-race suspension from NASCAR in the previous race. For that race, Brad Keselowski became attracted a choir of praise, having qualified on the pole and for staying in contention to win until an unfortunate late-race accident. Keselowski's effort did net him a victory, in the form of JR Motorsports signing him to the #88 Navy Chevrolet in the than-Busch Series. Last night (June 7th) at Nashville superspeedway at the Federated Auto Parts 300 presented by Dollar General, Brad Keselowski career is now reached a high note, winning the event after several close encounters with victory lane.

The Saturday night affair known as the Federated Auto Parts 300 was led to green by rookie phenom Joey Logano. He solidly dominated the field for the first 64 laps until a early pit stop problem dropped Logano's Toyota down to 10th leaving pit road. Brad Keselowski took the lead by defying his crew chief Tony Eury Sr. orders. In hindsight, Keselowski's strategy not only gave him first spot, but allowed him to stay in front of some chaotic racing.

One incident claimed Joey Logano as contact from Greg Biffle ruined chances at a top finish in his second outing. Finishing 31th, it's likely that sixth-place finish last week at Dover might be worth celebrating, even though Joey Logano didn't feel very festive following that first race. Included in the Nashville altercation was Kyle Busch who ended his race 3 laps down in 20th place on the same day he wrecked his Sprint Cup series Toyota in Pocono. Kyle Busch's racing marathon weekend has the young lion looking for a strong third leg in the Pocono 500.

The #25 Ford Fusion driven by Bobby Hamilton Jr. was another car that had a rough outing. After brushing contact between him and JR Motorsports rookie Landon Cassill, the collision caused Hamilton Jr.'s right side tire to puncture leading his car into the wall. Following the incident, reacting on both the contact with Cassill and JR Motorsports radio chatter, an angry Hamilton confronted Cassill's crew chief briefly.

In the final stages of the Federated Auto Parts 300, a restart with 8 laps remaining had leader David Reutimann attacked by both Keselowski and Clint Bowyer, resulting in Bowyer taking the lead, winkling some sheet metal in the process. A hard-charging Brad Keselowski choosing an inside move on a Bowyer's slightly damaged #2 BB&T Chevrolet with 5 laps remaining. Brad Keselowski, aided with Hendrick engine power in his #88 Navy Chevrolet, didn't look back as he want to victory lane claiming the special Nashville trophy, a custom Gibson guitar.

Leaving Nashville, two major trends were broken for this stand alone Nationwide event. As Cup series regulars long asserted themselves as a dominating force in any Nationwide race, Nashville's results featured 6 of the top 10 car driven by drivers not running full-time in the top series, including race winner Keselowski. As well, the triumph of JR Motorsport's Chevrolet put an end to the Toyota Camry's 8-race winning streak which started following the first Nashville race.

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