Keselowski bests field to capture IRWIN Tools Night Race at BMS
Brad Keselowski drove to victory in Saturday’s IRWIN Tools Night Race, overcoming a broken ankle and a host of tough competition, and capped an exciting weekend of racing at “The World’s Fastest Half-Mile.”
The Rochester, Mich. native earned his third win of the season, and his first Cup Series victory at BMS in front of a packed house.
While an evening behind the wheel at BMS can be tough for a driver in top condition, Keselowski still is nursing an ankle injury suffered in a practice crash earlier in the year. Not only did he overcome the injury, he defeated stout competition to earn the win. Afterwards, Keselowski was thrilled to share his excitement about a win in Thunder Valley.
“We had an awesome car, awesome team, wow,” he said. “The night race at Bristol! This is the race guys like Gordon and Earnhardt win. This is the race of champions…this is the coolest (darn) one of them all.
“We passed Martin Truex and the next thing I know we’re in Victory Lane. We’re in Victory Lane in Bristol, man!”
Keselowski continued to show his exuberance with the win and thanked the great crowd for their support.
“This is Bristol baby. These are awesome fans who come to watch some of the best racing in NASCAR.
“I got to the lead and drove my butt off. It wasn’t easy, but we found a way to get it done. Martin is a hell of a racer and I thought Jeff was the car to beat, but we got it done. I’m so glad to be in Bristol and to be in Victory Lane in front of these fans. Thank you all for coming out.
“What an honor to win at Bristol.”
Close action was found throughout the pack, including the race for second place between Truex and Gordon.
“It was an incredible battle,” Gordon explained. “Me and Martin and (Matt) Kenseth and (Jimmie) Johnson had a heck of a battle at the end. I felt like we had the car to beat, but we didn’t get the position we needed on the last pit stop.
“We fought hard. That was just a hard battle; a lot of fun at the end, but just didn’t quite have it there at the end.”
Truex’s crew chief made the call to put two tires on the car during the final pit stop, a move that put him in position to take the win. Keselowski’s four fresh Goodyears made the difference, however.
“(The pit crew) had one bad pit stop one from the end, but they were able to rebound on the last one when we got two (tires) and got the lead...Just couldn’t quite hang with (Keselowski) on two and was a little disappointed because I thought we had a shot at it.
“We’ve had a lot of good runs and we led over half the race in the spring and finished 20th or something. Just hadn’t ever had the luck we needed here or a good car enough in the second half of the race.”
Johnson finished fourth, with Jamie McMurray fifth. Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman, Carl Edwards and Marcos Ambrose rounded out the top 10.
Tickets for the 2012 Bristol Motor Speedway season are now on sale, including a special $99 season ticket package in Wallace Tower, half-price kids tickets and much more. For more information, please call (423) BRISTOL or 1.866.415.4158.