Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Keselowski denies Junior

Brad Keselowski earns his second Sprint Cup victory and his first for Penske Racing, which he joined last season.

Getty Images

Brad Keselowski earns his second Sprint Cup victory and his first for Penske Racing, which he joined last season.

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Dale Earnhardt Jr. was charging again, hoping this time he'd come out on top in a frantic late fuel-mileage battle.

But leader Brad Keselowski stretched his tank perfectly Sunday to win the Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway — and extend Earnhardt's winless streak to 106 races.

Keselowski led the final nine laps of the STP 400 for his second Sprint Cup victory in 66 races, and his first since a stunner for owner James Finch in 2009 at Talladega.

"There are some secrets to it, and I just maximized them all. I had plenty (of fuel) left," Keselowski said.

Earnhardt appeared set to make a late charge on Keselowski. That push never came — though Earnhardt moved up to third in the standings, just one point behind Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson, who finished seventh.

For the second week in a row in a fuel-mileage race, Earnhardt came up just short. He ran out of gas near the finish in Charlotte and wound up seventh.

"Anytime you win a fuel-mileage race you've done something as a driver," Earnhardt said. "We don't know what we're doing really trying to save gas or how much we're saving. But (Keselowski) had a hand in it."

Denny Hamlin was third, followed by Jeff Gordon and Carl Edwards, who holds a 40-point lead over Johnson.

David Reutimann of Zephyrhills was 22nd, one lap down.

Pole-sitter Busch led 152 laps and finished ninth. He had to stop for gas as the leader with 10 laps left.

"I was all smiles. I felt the groove again, to lead the race. It was great. It was solid," Busch said. "There was always something in the back of my mind that we weren't going to win, but I am proud Brad Keselowski did."

Keselowski earned the pole last week at Charlotte and has been on a monthlong upswing for Penske.

He seemed to come to life just as teammate Busch reached a boiling point, with his displeasure culminating in an expletive-laden rant on team management.

That led to behind-the-scenes personnel changes at Penske, including the announcement that technical director Tom German was leaving to attend a graduate program at MIT.

But Keselowski also took exception to a comment Busch made that it had been several years since he'd had a teammate capable of running the same pace as him.

Since then, Keselowski logged a third-place finish, raced into the All-Star Race main event and, on Sunday, earned a win that could help him nab a wild-card spot in the Chase to the Championship. The top 10 in points plus the two drivers in spots 11-20 with the most wins make the Chase; Keselow­ski moved up to 21st in points.

Because several drivers in front of him stopped late for fuel, and he wasn't updated on his team radio, Keselowski didn't know he was leading until he spotted a scoring pylon with two laps to go.

"I was instantly mad at my guys for not telling me, but you get over that pretty quick when you cross the finish line first," he said.

ONE OF THOSE NAMIN' DEALS: Sprint chief executive officer Dan Hesse said his company is in talks with NASCAR to extend its title sponsorship of the Sprint Cup series. "Our intention is to continue the sponsorship with NASCAR," Hesse told the Kansas City Star before Sunday's race. Sprint is in the eighth year of a 10-year, $750 million sponsorship that goes through the 2013 season.

.Sprint cup

Gearhead stats

Winner's average speed: 137.184 mph

Time of race: 2 hours, 55 minutes, 10 seconds

Margin of victory: 2.813 seconds

Caution flags: 5 for 22 laps

Lead changes: 17 among 9 drivers

Lap leaders: Montoya 1; Ky.Busch 2-8; Montoya 9-17; Ku.Busch 18-45; Cassill 46; Mears 47; Ku.Busch 48-83; Edwards 84-112; Ky.Busch 113-116; Hamlin 117-140; Stewart 141-153; Hamlin 154-159; Ku.Busch 160-204; Stewart 205-211; Hamlin 212-215; Ku.Busch 216-258; Keselow­ski 259-267

Points standings

Through 13 of 36 races. The top 10 drivers plus two wild cards (based on wins) through 26 races make the Chase for the Championship.

Driver Pts. Bk.

1. Carl Edwards 485—

2. Jimmie Johnson 445 40

3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 444 41

4. Kevin Harvick 442 43

5. Kyle Busch 425 60

6. Kurt Busch 414 71

7. Matt Kenseth 412 73

8. Tony Stewart 393 92

9. Clint Bowyer 391 94

10. Ryan Newman 382 103

Up next

Pocono 500, 1 p.m. Sunday, Pocono (Pa.) Raceway


Keselowski denies Junior 06/05/11 [Last modified: Sunday, June 5, 2011 10:36pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays morning after: An up-and down day for Jose De Leon


    Rays RHP Jose De Leon had a busy Monday - getting called up to join the Rays for the first time and making his way from Pawtucket, R.I., to Boston and the flying to Texas, working 2 2/3 eventful innings to get the W in the 10-8 victory over the Rangers, and then getting optioned back to Triple-A.

    Jose De Leon follows through in the sixth inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, on May 29, 2017.
  2. Tiger Woods says medication, not alcohol, led to DUI arrest in Florida

    Public Safety

    Players arriving for a tournament this week at Muirfield Village might notice a framed picture of Tiger Woods with a resplendent smile and bright red shirt. He's posed there with the trophy, an image that embodies the excitement he once brought to golf.

    This image provided by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office on Monday, May 29, 2017, shows Tiger Woods. Police in Florida say Tiger Woods was been arrested for DUI.  [Palm Beach County Sheriff's office via AP]
  3. Four key games that could decide Bucs' success in 2017


    The Bucs finished so close to making the playoffs in 2016 -- literally flip-flop the last two results and have them beat the Saints and lose to the Panthers and they're in as a wild card with the same 9-7 record -- that it's difficult to say with any certainty what will happen in the 2017 season.

    Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston, shown celebrating a touchdown against the Giants in 2015, will face New York again this fall in Week 4 in Tampa.
  4. Frank Deford wrote with sincerity, giving depth to complicated sports figures

    Human Interest

    Frank Deford practically invented the notion of multimedia: He exported his voice to radio, TV and film, and if you didn't know him you might have thought he was an actor, because he wore purple suits and looked like Clark Gable. But Frank, who died Sunday at age 78, was a writer above all things, and an important …

    In a 1991 photo, Frank Deford holds a proof of The National Sports Daily, of which he was editor and publisher [Associated Press]
  5. Clarity coming this week on Florida Gators, Malik Zaire


    After months of speculation, we could finally get some clarity this week on the Florida Gators and graduate transfer quarterback Malik Zaire.

    SEC flags outside the hotel of last year's spring meetings in Destin. This year's meetings could have a huge impact on the Florida Gators' season.