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Keselowski wins Sprint Cup race in Kentucky

Brad Keselowski celebrates after getting towed to Victory Lane. Racing on reserve fuel, he edges Carl Edwards for win No. 4.

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Brad Keselowski celebrates after getting towed to Victory Lane. Racing on reserve fuel, he edges Carl Edwards for win No. 4.

SPARTA, Ky. — Brad Kese­lowski became the first three-time winner at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday night, overtaking Kevin Harvick on Lap 201 and holding on to win the Sprint Cup Quaker State 400.

Matt Kenseth grabbed the lead with six laps remaining but soon pitted for fuel to hand the top spot back to Keselowski, who had just enough gas in reserve to edge Carl Edwards by .175 seconds in a tense finish for the 400-mile race.

Keselowski's tank eventually ran dry, and he needed a tow truck to get to Victory Lane.

Ryan Newman was third, followed by Kurt Busch and then Tony Stewart in fifth in his final Kentucky race. The three-time series champion is retiring after this season.

Keselowski led 75 laps on his way to his second straight win and series-best fourth of the season. His latest triumph on the 1½ mile tri-oval might have been his most impressive in terms of strategy.

The Penske Racing driver pitted just four times and made the most of his gas tank down to the last drop, withstanding one last charge from Edwards.

Keselowski clearly got a lot from his tires and setup, both of which were important on the resurfaced and reconfigured track featuring higher banking in turns and 1 and 2. He lamented the smoothing of front-stretch bumps that he said added character to Kentucky, but he quickly adapted to the improvements and new NASCAR rules that reduced downforce and sideforce.

Harvick, the pole-sitter, led for a race-high 128 laps and finished ninth. Keselowski guided his Ford past Harvick's Chevy on Lap 201 after the race record-tying 11th caution. The race then stayed green to the end.

Accidents were the story early on. Some notable names were collected, including Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano and rookie Chase Elliott. Johnson wrecked on Lap 31; he returned on Lap 72, 42 laps down, and finished 32nd.

LATE FRIDAY: Kyle Busch led 185 laps and won the NASCAR Xfinity series Alsco 300. Busch outdueled Daniel Suarez and Austin Dillon in a three-wide restart to earn his first series win at Kentucky since 2004.

Sprint Cup points

Through 18 of 36 races. The top 16 drivers, based on wins, then points, make the 10-race Chase for the Championship.

Driver Points Back

Kevin Harvick* 599—

B. Keselowski**** 5954

Kurt Busch* 58316

Carl Edwards** 566 33

Joey Logano* 53366

Kyle Busch*** 52178

Martin Truex* 51485

Chase Elliott 492 107

Jimmie Johnson** 484115

Matt Kenseth*477122

* Wins

Up next

New Hampshire 301, 1:30 July 17, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon

TV/radio: NBCSN; 102.5-FM

Keselowski wins Sprint Cup race in Kentucky 07/09/16 [Last modified: Sunday, July 10, 2016 12:11am]
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