[media-credit name=”Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR” align=”alignright” width=”224″][/media-credit]Brad Keselowski led 231 laps in route to his first victory of the season in Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
“What can I say? I love Bristol and Bristol loves me.” said Keselowski. “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.”
Keselowski choose the outside line on the final restart and held off Matt Kenseth, who had beat him on the previous restart.
“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.
Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) teammates Martin Truex Jr. finished third, Clint Bowyer fourth and Brian Vickers finished fifth. Vickers led 125 laps in his first race of the season and will run five more races for MWR.
“This was pretty good and it felt really good when we were out there leading. It would have been awesome to hold onto that, but it’s the first time back so I can’t complain about that. What an organization.” Vickers said.
“So proud of the team. All the guys on the NAPA team and everybody at MWR. Clint and Brian were up front all day long and this just says a lot about everything that everybody at MWR has done over the off season — working hard, giving us good race cars.” Truex Jr. said.
Kasey Kahne had another dismal finish after contact with Regan Smith. He finished 37th and sits 32nd in the series standings.
“We were going forward, just taking our time. Regan Smith was pretty slow. I was under him for a couple of laps. When my spotter cleared me in the center, I just took off, and he was there on exit. It is disappointing to have that good of a car and be out this early. Everybody at Hendrick Motorsports is doing such an awesome job. I’ve had awesome race cars, and I have nothing to show for it.” Kahne said.
On lap 359, teammates Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. were racing hard. While Earnhardt Jr. was making the pass, they got together. The contact cut the left rear, sending Gordon into the outside wall.
“I think we bumped more than we should have is the way it looks like. We definitely didn’t hit in the right location, because I think the tailpipe or something just cut the left-rear (tire) immediately. We didn’t hit that hard. We were a little bit too tight and he was pretty good on the restart there and we were racing hard. I know that it wasn’t intentional, but it certainly ruined our day. I hate it for Drive To End Hunger.” Gordon said.
Gordon finished 35th and now sits 23rd in the series standings.
“I got into his door a little bit. We were racing and having a good time, to be honest with you. I put the pipes up against the left rear tire of his car, and knocked the side wall out of it. I hate…I feel bad about that. I’m going to have to do some damage control this week. I know Jeff understands what was going on out there, but his boys work real hard on their car, and they had a good run going. They had a potential win, or good finish going too; and they deserve it.” Earnhardt Jr. said.
Earnhardt Jr. finished 15th after a late-race pit road speeding penalty.
“I got busted for speeding on pit road. I really hate that happened. I don’t think I was; but I don’t (think) any driver ever thinks he was speeding.” Earnhardt Jr. said.
|Unofficial Race Results|
|Food City 500, Bristol Motor Speedway|
|3||15||56||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||41|
|15||18||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||30|
|43||37||26||Josh Wise *||Ford||1|