In the 20th race of the 33 race-long Nationwide series, Brad Keselowski dominated a field of Nationwide drivers to win his third race at Iowa Speedway and his 30th career win in the series. Keselowski was followed by Joe Gibbs Racing driver, Michael McDowell and Roush Fenway Racing’s Trevor Bayne.
Keselowski said the race was, “A really good battle. He had me there for a minute. Somehow I slid back by him. I’m not really sure how it worked out. These wins aren’t easy to come by and I’m really proud of the effort everyone put into it.”
McDowell thought he had a chance to win on the restart saying, “When you’re that close to getting the victory, it’s definitely a tough one. Brad definitely had the best car tonight, but on those restarts everybody’s got a shot.”
The U.S. Cellular 250 started off with pole winner Trevor Bayne taking an early lead with Brad Keselowski in hot pursuit. The top five quickly became single file with Brian Scott in third, Regan Smith in fourth, and Chase Elliott in fifth. Previous Iowa winner Sam Hornish Jr. was hot on the top five’s heels in sixth place.
By lap 15, the only change in the top five was Hornish’s leap into the top five by passing rookie Chase Elliott, and by lap 19, the leaders began to contend with lap traffic, which allowed Scott to catch the top two.
On lap 22 the race for the lead became heated with Keselowski and Bayne racing side by side for the better part of three laps. The first caution of the night came out on lap 25 for debris and the battle for first temporarily went to Bayne.
The first to pit road, Elliott Sadler, was previously running in ninth place, and only a few others took the opportunity to pit during this caution.
The race went green once again on lap 31, and less than a lap later, Keselowski took the lead from Bayne and began to lead the drivers around the oval track.
Chase Elliott took great advantage of the restart and was able to jump into third, trailing the leaders by less than a second.
The race remained problem free and allowed Keselowski to jump three seconds ahead of Bayne and Chase Elliott who were in the midst of duking it out for second when the second caution of the night flew.
This caution was brought out by Tanner Berryhill when his car lost power and stalled between turns one and two. When the pits opened, the front runners all came down and pitted, while Elliott Sadler and a few others stayed out and tried to capitalize on their different pit strategies. Keselowski led the field off pit road with Bayne trailing behind him.
When the race resumed on lap 57, Sadler continued to lead the field until lap 61 when Hornish showed his colors for the first time Saturday night and took the lead. By lap 65, Keselowski and Bayne passed the fading Sadler as well.
Hornish didn’t get to keep the lead long as Keselowski caught and passed him by lap 72. Despite how easily Keselowski passed Hornish though, Hornish stuck to Keselowski’s bumper. The two pulled away from third place driver, Bayne, by nearly four seconds.
The race once again remained relatively quiet and calm, with little changing within the top five except for Chase Elliott’s threading through lapped traffic to get himself to fifth position.
Most came down pit road during this caution. Hornish however, was able to beat Keselowski off pit road. The two were followed by McDowell, Bayne, Smith, Dillon, Kwasniewski, and Elliott.
On lap 117, the green flag was waved and Hornish was able to keep the lead while McDowell forced himself into a battle with Keselowski for second. The race once again settled down with little happening. Bayne, running in fourth place, reported a vibration on lap 126, but all else remained quiet.
On lap 163, Hornish slid loose off of turn four and Keselowski was able to capitalize and steal the lead from Hornish on the outside on lap 164.
The fourth caution of the race came out on lap 183, when Dakoda Armstrong spun off of turn two. Fortunately no contact was made and the race was able to restart rather quickly on lap 189 with Keselowski able to reassert his lengthy lead rather quickly.
Keselowski and Hornish began a heated battle for the lead after lap traffic began to come into play again, but before anything came of it, the caution came out for the final time of the night when James Buescher crashed on the front stretch on lap 241.
For not the first time of the night, mass pit stops took place with Keselowski leading the field out and McDowell heading out in second. Bayne, Scott, and Smith rounded out the top five.
On the restart, McDowell was able to rip the lead away from Keselowski, but the Sprint cup champion was able to snatch it back and win the race, marking his 30th victory in the Nationwide series. McDowell had to settle for second place. Bayne finished in third and also claimed the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash prize. Sam Hornish Jr. finished fourth followed by Ty Dillon in fifth place.
Chase Elliott was able to leave Iowa and retain the points leader by two over second place Regan Smith. Sadler and Ty Dillon are tied for third in the points standings (-12) and Bayne is in fifth (-41).
US Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway Complete Finishing Order:
1. (22) Brad Keselowski
2. (20) Michael McDowell
3. (6) Trevor Bayne
4. (54) Sam Hornish Jr.
5. (3) Ty Dillon
6. (7) Regan Smith
7. (2) Brian Scott
8. (9) Chase Elliott
9. (42) Dylan Kwasniewski
10. (11) Elliott Sadler
11. (62) Brendan Gaughan.
12. (5) Josh Berry
13. (01) Landon Cassill
14. (60) Chris Buescher
15. (16) Ryan Reed
16. (19) Mike Bliss
17. (28) J.J. Yeley
18. (31) Chase Pistone
19. (29) Kenny Wallace
20. (39) Ryan Sieg
21. (43) Dakoda Armstrong
22. (84) Chad Boat
23. (14) Eric McClure
24. (52) Joey Gase
25. (51) Jeremy Clements
26. (99) James Buescher
27. (55) Jamie Dick
28. (44) Hal Martin
29. (93) Kevin Swindell
30. (40) Matt DiBenedetto
31. (4) Jeffrey Earnhardt
32. (23) Carl Long
33. (87) Josh Reaume
34. (70) Derrike Cope
35. (17) Tanner Berryhill
36. (89) Morgan Shepherd
37. (72) John Jackson
38. (10) Blake Koch
39. (74) Mike Harmon
40. (46) Matt Frahm