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Nationwide: Keselowski steals win from Stenhouse

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. dominated Saturday night's Kroger 200, only for Brad Keselowski to get past him on a late restart and to then lose a dead heat with James Buescher for second.
Roush Fenway's Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had looked in complete control of the 30th Annual Kroger 200 Nationwide Series race at Lucas Oil Raceway on Saturday night.

Hours earlier he had taken pole position at the very end of the qualifying session, his fourth pole in 60 starts - three of them in 2011. His lap time of 22.806s on the 0.686 mile short oval in Indianapolis was just 0.04s ahead of Cup regular Brad Keselowski who in turn was just 0.009s faster than Cup championship leader Carl Edwards, who lined up alongside Justin Allgaier on the second row of the grid.

Stenhouse would convert pole position to lead 188 of the eventual 204 laps of the race, only dropping out of the front spot twice during pit stops under cautions, the first 175 laps of the race being relatively quiet and punctuated only by two debris cautions. The race made up for that in the last 29 laps however.

First there was a multiple-car accident that started with Tim Andrews and Michael Annett, and then caught up Steve Wallace in turns 3 and 4 and which needed a 12 minute red flag suspension to clear up. "Tried to accelerate away from those guys and got sideways," said Wallace, Annett's teammate, of how and why he had arrived sideways and at speed at the scene of the accident to give all three a hefty slam.

At the next restart on lap 184 following pit stops, second-place man Trevor Bayne's engine blew and dropped a load of fluid on the track that required a clean-up, and just as the field were preparing to go back to racing it was Justin Allgaier's turn to exit competition when his #31 caught fire with an oil pump problem, Allgaier himself receiving help from Reed Sorenson's crew in pit lane to extricate himself before things got seriously toasty in the cockpit.

That set up a double-file restart on lap 196 with Stenhouse joined on the front row by Keselowski who had been somewhat anonymous for much of the middle portion of the evening's racing. Keselowski leaned hard on Stenhouse when the green flag came out to take the position, and a fightback by Stenhouse was thwarted by the track going back to caution after Elliott Sadler spun behind them and collected his Kevin Harvick Inc. teammate Austin Dillon on the way.

That sent the race into overtime and a green-white-chequered attempt at a finish at the restart on lap 202, and despite a late spin by Brian Scott the race made it to the official finish line with Keselowski holding on to the lead while Stenhouse came under severe pressure from James Buescher. The two crossed the line in a dead heat according to the timing screens, and it took several minutes of intensive review of the video footage for the officials to determine that in fact Buescher had just clinched the runners-up spot.

"I'm not sure what happened at the end of that race," a dazed Keselowski said of the final wild minutes of the evening. "I've been coming to this race track for years. I've been to Victory Lane as a team guy and a mechanic but never a driver. It's so special to win here.

"I'm going to have to go back and watch it on TV to fully understand what happened," he admitted. "The #16 car blew up. The #31 caught on fire. We ended up restarting in second position on the outside lane ... If the race was two of three laps longer, I'm sure Ricky would have drove around us."




Related Pictures

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Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Kroger 200 at Lucas Oil Raceway on July 30 in Indianapolis, Ind. [Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Dodge, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Kroger 200 at Lucas Oil Raceway on July 30 in Indianapolis, Ind. [Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Justin Algaier, driver of the #31 Deft Finishes Chevrolet, catches fire on a restart during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Kroger 200 at Lucas Oil Raceway on July 30 in Indianapolis, Ind. [Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane with team owner Dale Earnhardt jr. after winning the series championship during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the series championship during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 Napa Auto Parts Chevrolet, wins the EnjoyIllinois.com 300 race at Chicagoland Speedway on July 19, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates winning the series championship during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the series championship after the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Hertz Ford, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, and Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, burn out as Crafton celebrates winning the series championship and Wallace celebrates winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, speaks during a press conference prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 7, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Fastenal Ford, climbs out of his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 7, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 8, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, talks to his crew chief, Paul Wolfe, after failing to advance to the championship round of the Chase for the Spring Cup after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 9, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/ Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 9, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

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