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Nationwide: Keselowski wins black flag drama

Brad Keselowski and Sam Hornish Jr. gave Penske Racing something to smile about, delivering a team 1-2 in the first ever Nationwide Series race at Indianapolis amid black flag controversy.
After the recent traumas surrounding Penske Racing's Cup squad and the indefinite suspension of driver AJ Allmendinger, the team at last had something to celebrate this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway as Brad Keselowski and Sam Hornish Jr. achieved a one-two finish for Roger Penske in the first Indiana 225 Nationwide Series race.

"I've been watching races here since I was a kid in Michigan," said Keselowski after claiming the win. "Everybody knows how special Indy is, and any win you can have here, whether it's the 500 or the Brickyard here, the first Nationwide race. Every race is special."

It's the first time that Nationwide cars have joined the Cup series with a race at the famous speedway, giving Keselowski a place in the record books that can never be taken away. But Keselowski owed more than a little thanks to some ill-fortune that had hit his main rivals in the closing stages of the 100-lap event.

First there was a spin for Kyle Busch who had led 51 of the laps and who appeared to have the dominant car but an Achilles Heel on pit lane; and then Elliott Sadler surged away at the restart, only to get handed a drive-thru penalty for jumping the restart.

That was especially ironic given what had happened at the very start of the race: polesitter Kasey Kahne had got a sluggish exit from turn 4 approaching the green flag and found himself in third place behind Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin as they crossed the starting line - much to Kahne's annoyance. However, no one on the race official side of things seemed to think that anything was amiss and instead insisted that it was Kahne's fault for not getting up to speed properly. Case closed.

All Kahne could do after that was hunker down in third place some two seconds off the leaders, and ahead of a fierce battle for fourth place between Ty Dillon - in only the Truck Series regular's second Nationwide outing - and Brad Keselowski, who finally passed the youngster for the position going down the frontstretch on lap 11.

That took the race through to lap 15, at which point there was a scheduled caution to allow the teams to check over the cars. That was because since the last time the cars had extended practice runs on the speedway, the track had been briefly converted to its road course configuration for Friday's Grand-AM endurance race.

There was some congestion on pit lane, with Kurt Busch running into the back of Kyle Fowler making hard contact twice, while Paul Menard and Mike Bliss had a near miss of their own. None of that affected the race leader, but it was a rather costly visit to pit lane for Kyle Busch who dropped four spots as his team took extra care over loading the maximum amount of fuel into the #54: Hamlin, Kahne and Keselowski all bumped up a position, with Elliott Sadler the biggest gainer with a lead up into fourth position in front of Busch for the restart.

It was a minor inconvenience for Busch, who hustled his way back to the front five laps later with Brad Keselowski being dropped in second place after a few laps in the lead. At the other end of the field, James Buescher was the last car on the lead lap in 34th position, having had to come back onto pit road on lap 29 after being one of a pack of cars that got down too low on the track and churned up the grass verge, clogging the front grille of the #30 resulting in spiralling water temperatures that sent him back in for a quick clean-up before things got serious.




Related Pictures

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Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Snap-On Tools Dodge, races to the finish line to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Indiana 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 28, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Snap-On Tools Dodge, kisses the bricks after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Indiana 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 28, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Brian Vickers, driver of the Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota, answers questions from media during a press conference before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, 2015 in Fontana, California. Vickers was forced to withdraw from competition due to blood clots. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, leads the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 Sport Clips Toyota, leads Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 DeWalt Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Doug Pensinger/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS finishes in sixth place and Paul Menard, driver of the #27 FVP/Menards Chevrolet SS finishes in fourth place Sunday, March 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS finishes in eighth place Sunday, March 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS finishes in third place and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS finishes in second place Sunday, March 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, races during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Drive4Clots.com 300 at Auto Club Speedway on March 21, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 21, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Jeff Gross/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, climbs into his car prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 21, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS qualifies for fifth position Friday, March 20, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Larson is 17th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS qualifies for 2nd position Friday, March 20, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Harvick leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Joining him on the front row will be Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS who won the Pole position. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS celebrates with his team after winning the Pole position Friday, March 20, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Busch is 33rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Joining him on the front row will be Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS won the Pole position Friday, March 20, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Busch is 33rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Joining him on the front row will be Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kyle Larson drives the #42 Target Chevrolet through the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row / Visser Precision Chevrolet, stands in the garage area prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, poses for a photo with Miss Coors Light Rachel Rupert after winning the pole during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2015 in Fontana, California.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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