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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, leads the field in a restart during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Road America 180 Fired Up by Johnsonville at Road America on August 29, 2015 in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.  (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finishes in ninth place Saturday night, August 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Denny Hamlin in action. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, leads Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 16, 2015 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS, finishes in third place Sunday, August 16, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Regan Smith, driver of the #7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet at New Hampshire on July 7, 2014. (Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Regan Smith, driver of the #7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet at Chicago on July 18, 2014. (Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Regan Smith, driver of the #7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet at Daytona International Speedway on 30 May 2015. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Regan Smith, driver of the #7 Nationwide Children`s Hospital Chevrolet, Alex Tagliani, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, and Chris Buescher driver of the #60 Zest Ford, drive during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Nationwide Children`s Hospital 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 15, 2015 in Lexington, Ohio. (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, races Brian Scott, driver of the #2 Shore Lodge Chevrolet, during the Nationwide Children`s Hospital 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 15, 2015 in Lexington, Ohio. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Zest Ford, and Alex Tagliani, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford lead the pack during the start of the NASCAR XFINITY Series Nationwide Children`s Hospital 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 15, 2015 in Lexington, Ohio. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Moore/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota, Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, and Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 ARRIS Toyota, drive during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 2015 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards drives the #19 ARRIS Toyota during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 14, 2015 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finishes in eleventh place Sunday, August 9, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Hertz Ford, pits during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International on August 8, 2015 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

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