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Nationwide - fuel key to Keselowski win

Brad Keselowski made his final tank of gas last an impressive 61 green flag laps to claim victory in the Feed the Children 300 Nationwide series night race at Kentucky Speedway.
Fuel conservation was the critical factor during Friday night's Feed the Children 300 Nationwide series race at Kentucky Speedway, and it was Brian Keselowski who had it figured out the best.

He made sure he was playing the fuel strategy game right from the final restart on lap 139, and as a result just had enough gas in the tank to crawl over the finish line 61 laps later just ahead of his only real rival on the night, Kevin Harvick.

Keselowski's win thwarts Kyle Busch's hopes of claiming a triple crown this weekend at Kentucky. Busch had won Thursday night's UNOH 225 Camping World Truck Series race and is on pole position for Saturday night's Quaker State 400 Sprint Cup race after qualifying was rained off, but his trifecta hopes were dented when he crashed his Nationwide car in qualifying and ended up starting from the back of the field in a backup car. Even so, Busch battled back to finish in third place ahead of Kasey Kahne.

Elliott Sadler finishing fifth, having led from pole position for the first eight laps before Harvick took over for all but one of the next 56 laps; but once Keselowski took the lead on lap 68 no one could get past him except for brief overlaps during pit stop sequences, and he went on to lead for a grand total of 132 of the 200 laps.

Keselowski admitted that the clean air up front had been critical for him. "I certainly felt more comfortable once I got clean air," he said. "You get that clean air, and these cars are just phenomenal to drive, and mine was no exception. It was really, really fast."

As for managing to make the fuel last, know what speed he could get away with and still make it to the end of the race, Keselowski insisted that there was no special gadget or formula for working it out and it all came down to instinct - or, as he put it, flying by the seat of his pants.

"I like to say it's a special gauge we put in the car - I call it an assonometer," said Keselowski. "It's my ass. That's my gauge."

His fuel strategy left others shaking their heads and wondering what his and Penske's secret was.

"We had a car to win, we just are getting beat on this fuel mileage stuff every week," said Ricky Stenhouse Jr. who finished in ninth place. "We are just going to have to go to the shop and figure it out. They are just killing us on those and have the car to win, we just can't do it without the fuel mileage.”

The win is Keselowski's 13th in 156 Nationwide starts and his first at Kentucky in four starts. It's Penske's 17th series win and their first at Kentucky and also their first in 2011, emphasising once again just how much of a rebound they've pulled off in the past month across the board.




Related Pictures

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Jason Leffler, Kasey Kahne and Steve Wallace race three wide during the Feed the Children 300 at Kentucky Speedway Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR. [Picture Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Brad Keselowski celebrates winning the Feed the Children 300 at Kentucky Speedway. [Picture Credit: Jared C. Tiltion/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski battle for the lead in the early stages of the Feed the Children 300 at Kentucky Speedway. [Picture Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Pit strategy was key for Brad Keselowski as the #22 Discount Tire team put just enough fuel in the car to win the Feed the Children 300 at Kentucky Speedway. [Picture Credit: Tom Whitmore/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Redd`s Wicked Apple Ale Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Redd`s Wicked Apple Ale Ford, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finished in 5th position and Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS finished in 12th position Sunday, October 19, 2014 in the final Contender 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama. Newman, who was in the Chase, advances to the Eliminator 8 phase of the Chase which begins next week at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. Kahne, who was also in the Chase, did not advance. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS finished in 9th position Sunday, October 19, 2014 in the final Contender 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama. Harvick, who was in the Chase, advances to the Eliminator 8 phase of the Chase which begins next week at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Smithfield Ford, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Halloween Toyota, are involved in an on track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
The crew of Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Redd`s Wicked Apple Ale Ford, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Redd`s Wicked Apple Ale Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Crew members work on the Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Halloween Toyota, in the garage area during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Redd`s Wicked Apple Ale Ford, leads the field near the end of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Redd`s Wicked Apple Ale Ford, races Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Redd`s Wicked Apple Ale Ford, celebrates with an American flag after winning during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Redd`s Wicked Apple Ale Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet, lead a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch. August 20 2014. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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