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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."




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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]
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS, races to an eighth place finish with Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS who finished in second place Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #24 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet SS, stops in his pit on his way to a fifth place finish Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. Elliott takes over the #24 car from retired driver Jeff Gordon.  (Photo by Ashley R Dickerson for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finishes in second place Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevy Racing)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, leads the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 7, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 8, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 8, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Kroger/Butterfinger/Coffeemate Chevrolet SS, finishes in second place, Sunday April 3, 2016, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, VA (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, celebrates his eighth Phoenix win with his crew Sunday, March 13, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. He won by a hundredth of a second, closest finish in NASCAR Sprint Cup History. This was Harvick`s 500th consecutive series start, a feat accomplished only by 14 others throughout the history of NASCAR.  (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to his eighth Phoenix win with Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet SS who finished in sixth place Sunday, March 13, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. Harvick won by a hundredth of a second, closest finish in NASCAR Sprint Cup History. This was his 500th consecutive series start, a feat accomplished only by 14 others throughout the history of NASCAR. (Photo by Andrew Coppley for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, takes the chequered flag for his eighth Phoenix win Sunday, March 13, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. He won by a hundredth of a second, closest finish in NASCAR Sprint Cup History. This was Harvick`s 500th consecutive series start, a feat accomplished only by 14 others throughout the history of NASCAR. (Photo by Andrew Coppley for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, celebrates his eighth Phoenix win Sunday, March 13, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. He won by a hundredth of a second, closest finish in NASCAR Sprint Cup History. This was Harvick`s 500th consecutive series start, a feat accomplished only by 14 others throughout the history of NASCAR. (Photo by Gregg Ellman for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, leads Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Monster Energy / Haas Automation Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 13, 2016 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, leads the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 13, 2016 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, beats Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, to the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 13, 2016 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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