2011-08-11 / Sports

Keselowski Gets Gutsy Win At Pocono

By Gerald Hodges
THE RACING REPORTER

POCONO, Pa. – Brad Keselowski showed he is a gutsy driver, as he drove to victory in Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Pocono while nursing a broken ankle sustained in a crash last week.

Keselowski caught and passed his teammate, Kurt Busch, on a restart during lap 182 of the 200-lap race, then held off a determined Kyle Busch, who had to settle for second.

“Getting through this weekend was only possible because of the inspiration of my team,” said Keselowski.

Keselowski did not compete in this weekend’s Nationwide Series race at Iowa Speedway in light of a chipped left ankle while testing Wednesday at Road Atlanta, after the brakes failed on his car and he hit the wall.

“I gave it my all,” said Kyle Busch. “If I had it to do all over again, I don’t know if I could do anything different.”

Kurt Busch, one of the early leaders of the race, finished third. He and Jimmie Johnson, the fourth-place finisher, raced each other hard, bumping a couple times, and after the race, Johnson approached Busch’s car on pit road and told him a thing or two.

“I was racing flat-out,” said Busch. “Nobody told me I was supposed to pull over with five-to go.”

Johnson was clearly upset as he walked back several times to make his point with Busch.

“I raced him hard and clean for 10-15 laps,” said Johnson. “Then as soon as I passed him, he started banging on me.”

Ryan Newman, Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Paul Menard were the remaining top-10 finishers.

The race was red-flagged for more than two hours due to rain.

Polesitter Joey Logano came home 26th.

Top-12 Chase contenders after 21 of 36: 1. Edwards- 720, 2. Johnson-711, 3. Kyle Busch-709, 4. Kurt Busch- 706, 5. Harvick- 700, 6. Kenseth-694, 7. J. Gordon- 668, 8. Newman-658, 9. Stewart 642, 10. Earnhardt-641, 11. Hamlin-618, 12. Bowyer- 600

Edwards pushes Stenhouse to win

Ricky Stenhouse and Carl Edwards combined to produce the wildest one-two finish in team history Saturday night at Iowa Speedway, with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. posting his second career Nationwide win, while Edwards finished second

Stenhouse looked as if he would cruise to the win, but a blown engine forced him to almost stop just before the finish line on the final lap. Edwards, who was running second, was unable to maneuver through the thick smoke, and slammed into the back of Stenhouse just short of the finish line, and pushed him sideways across the stripe.

“I don’t think anyone’s finished one-two with two torn-up race cars like that,” said Edwards. “I hoped he would be out of the way when I got there and I would drive around him. It was a huge day. It’s fun to come here and race in front of this crowd and a great race for Ricky even with his problem there at the end.”

Elliot Sadler, Josh Wise, Aric Almirola, Reed Sorenson, Kenny Wallace, Steven Wallace, Michael McDowell and David Mayhew were the remaining top-10 finishers.

With the victory, Stenhouse increased his Nationwide Series points lead to 12 points. Stenhouse and Edwards finished both Iowa races first and second this season.

Top-10 leaders after 22 of 34: 1. Stenhouse-787, 2. Sorenson-775, 3. Sadler-758, 4. Almirola-710, 5. Allgaier- 704, 6. Leffler-677, 7. K. Wallace 674, 8. S. Wallace-608, 9. Annett-598, 10. Scott-596

Rain-delayed truck race goes to Harvick

Kevin Harvick had enough gas to survive a green-white-checkered finish in Sunday’s rain-delayed Camping World Truck Series race at Pocono Raceway.

Kyle Busch finished second, followed by James Buescher, Johnny Sauter, Austin Dillon, Joey Coulter, Mark Martin, Matt Crafton, Ron Hornaday, and Timothy Peters.

Top-10 points leaders after 13 of 24: 1. Sauter-493, 2. Dillon-488, 3. Buescher-474, 4. Peters-465, 5. Whitt-453, 6. Crafton-451, 7. Coulter-441, 8. Kligerman-439, 9. Hornaday 436, 10. Bodine-415

Nashville Speedway shutting down

The Nashville Superspeedway is going out of business.

Dover Motorsports Inc. announced last week it won’t hold NASCAR races at the track in 2012 and may put the superspeedway up for sale.

The company has been trying unsuccessfully to secure a NASCAR Sprint Cup race since 2001. Kentucky hosted its first Sprint Cup race in July, and Dover decided it couldn’t continue without getting onto NASCAR’s top schedule.

“But the reality is after 10 years of effort we have to face the fact that without a Spring Cup race and/or a significant change in the operating model for other events, we simply cannot continue,” general manager Cliff Hawks said in a statement.

Dover opened the 1.33- mile track 10 years ago. The superspeedway has hosted NASCAR trucks and Nationwide races with two dates on each series this year and also had a slot on the Indy Racing League schedule before losing that after the 2008 season.

Dover Motorsports President Denis McGlynn said they had years of support from local, county and state officials and fans.

“We are, however, at a juncture where we must evaluate all of our options for this track, including its possible sale,” McGlynn said in a statement.

Dover unveiled ambitious plans for the superspeedway with the ability to expand to up to 150,000 seats along with a dirt track, a short track and a drag strip. Lights were installed along with 25,000 permanent grandstand seats for night racing.

But landing a Sprint Cup race was the target all along, and Dover never got Nashville squeezed into NASCAR’s top schedule.

The superspeedway faced competition from too many tracks just a short drive away in Bristol, Talladega and now Kentucky.

Patrick close to 2012 deal

Danica Patrick is in the final stages of putting together her full-time NASCAR plan. She is apparently going to run a full Nationwide schedule with JR Motorsports in 2012, and a limited Sprint Cup schedule with Tony Stewart, plus running the Indy-500 in preparation for an eventual full Cup schedule.

When asked at Pocono if he had any comments about furnishing a car for Patrick in 2012, Stewart refused to talk about it.

Patrick is ranked as the third highest paid female athlete with earnings at $12 million. Her fourth-place finish in the Sam’s Town 300 in March was the highest finish ever by a woman in a NASCAR race. A permanent move to NASCAR would certainly boost her income

All that remains now is for Patrick is to make her decision known.

Weekend racing: The Sprint Cup and Nationwide teams are at the 11-turn, 2.45-mile road course at Watkins Glen, N.Y. The truck teams have an off weekend.

Sat., Aug. 13, Nationwide Series Zippo 200, race 23 of 34, starting time: 2 p.m.: TV: ESPN.

Sun., Aug 14, Sprint Cup Sour Cream Dip at The Glen, race 22 of 36, starting time: 1 p.m.: TV: ESPN.

Racing trivia question: Jimmie Johnson has one 2012 Cup win this season. Which track did it come at?

Last week’s question: What are the names of Richard Childress’s two grandsons who are starting to make a name for themselves in racing? They are Austin and Ty Dillon.

Contact the Racing Reporter at hodges@race500.com.

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