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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]
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to a second place finish, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS finishes in sixth place, and Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision finishes in twelfth place Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. This Chevrolet drivers finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th (respectively) in the Chase of the Cup Championship. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Series championship contenders Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, take part in pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Fastenal Ford, and Regan Smith, driver of the #7 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 21, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Fastenal Ford, celebrates winning the series championship with a burnout after the NASCAR XFINITY Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 21, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Fastenal Ford, celebrates winning the series championship with the trophy in Victory Lane during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 21, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, qualifies for thirteenth position Friday, November 20, 2015 for Sunday`s Championship 4, the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Harvick will be joined by Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS and Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS to compete for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS, qualifies for eleventh position Friday, November 20, 2015 for Sunday`s Championship 4, the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Truex, Jr. will be joined by Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS to compete for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, qualifies for fifth position Friday, November 20, 2015 for Sunday`s Championship 4, the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Gordon will be joined by Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS and Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS to compete for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. Sunday will be Gordon`s last race as a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup driver. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS, advances to the Championship 4 with his fourteenth place finish Sunday, November 15, 2015 in the final round of the Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. Truex, Jr. is joined with Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Pepsi Chevrolet SS, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS to the Sprint Cup Series Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida next Sunday. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Pepsi Chevrolet SS, advances to the Championship 4 with his sixth place finish Sunday, November 15, 2015 in the final round of the Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase race at Phoenix International Raceway (renamed Jeff Gordon Raceway for the day to honor the four-time champion) in Avondale, Arizona. Gordon is joined with Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS  and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS to the Sprint Cup Series Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida next Sunday. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, races to victory Sunday, November 15, 2015 in the final round of the Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS advances to the Champion 4 with his second place finish. Harvick is joined with Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Pepsi Chevrolet SS to the Sprint Cup Series Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida next Sunday. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Patriotic Chevrolet, and Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, lead the field to the green flag at the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 15, 2015 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, leads Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 15, 2015 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

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