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No bad breaks for Keselowski at Pocono

Broken ankle? That's no reason not to go back to the office and win a 500 mile motor race, as Brad Keselowski proved with victory in Sunday's rain-hit Good Sam RV Insurance 500.
Brad Keselowski was lucky simply to be at Pocono Raceway this weekend. Just starting the Good Sam RV Insurance 500 Cup race was a huge triumph.

Keselowski had crashed at 100mph in testing at Road Atlanta just four days earlier and had to be flown to hospital for treatment for an avulsion fracture to his left ankle. It was a small miracle he was able to climb in the car, but to win the race as well? Only in a cheesy Hollywood film, surely.

The early stages of the race had been predominantly led by pole sitter Joey Logano, Keselowski's Penske team mate Kurt Busch, and Logano's Joe Gibbs Racing team mates Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch. It had run under the ongoing threat of rain in the area that had forced the overnight postponement of the Camping World Truck Series race, and drivers were acutely aware that any trace of drizzle on track could prove to herald the end of the race once half distance had been passed.

That put a premium on being in the lead, and it was Logano who held it when the rain suddenly arrived on lap 123 and forced the red flag to come out minutes later as the heavy downpour meant a resumption looked unlikely. If the race had been called, it would have been the second time in his Cup career that Logano would have won a race because of rain curtailment.

"We knew the rain was coming, and I was trying to hold off the #48," said Logano. "It was pretty exciting there, coming to the end, when my crew chief Zippy [Greg Zipadelli] told me [that] the rain was coming. I just kept on digging, and finally it just started downpouring."

But it was not to be the end of the race after all: one hour, 40 minutes later the cars were ushered back out on track. Organisers feared another, larger downpour was heading in the direction of the 2.5-mile unique "tri-oval" circuit but in fact the rain would now hold off until the end of the race, which would go full distance against all expectations.

Keselowski took the lead for the first time on lap 129 as everyone came in to pit lane for fuel and tyres before the restart, but it was Kurt Busch who quickly took point for most of the next 32 laps. Former leader Logano fell foul to the need for a late pit stop for tyres after a suspected puncture, and Denny Hamlin - who had led for 65 laps, more than anyone else - suffered from lugnut delays during his own earlier stop.

In the closing stages it was Kyle Busch who led, which was an impressive feat in its own right as he had spun out of sixth position on lap 12, then headed to pit road believing he'd beaten the ensuing caution that closed pit lane for business. Race control had disagreed and sent him to the back of the field for the transgression, leaving Busch to work his way back up from last place.

But in the closing phase of the race, Keselowski took the lead at the restart despite a strong challenge from Jimmie Johnson, while Kyle had his hands full with his brother Kurt. That allowed Keselowski to pull out a lead, and although Kyle would subsequently break away from a ferociously duelling Kurt and Jimmie Johnson to give chase and get within a second of the #2, it wasn't enough and Keselowski took the chequered flag. That meant Busch lost out and had to settle for his second second-place of the day, after finishing as runner-up to Kevin Harvick in the delayed Truck race in the morning.




Related Pictures

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Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam RV Insurance 500 at Pocono Raceway on Aug. 7 in Long Pond, Pa. [Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS, will be on the front row after qualifying for second position Friday, July 31, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. Harvick leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 American Ethanol Chevrolet SS, qualifies for fourth position Friday, July 31, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. Dillon is 19th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS, qualifies for fifth position Friday, July 31, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. Stewart is 26th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings.(Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, qualifies for sixth position Friday, July 31, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. Busch is eighth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Windows 10 400 at Pocono Raceway on July 31, 2015 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo Credit: Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)
Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 Maxwell House Toyota, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, speak in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Windows 10 400 at Pocono Raceway on July 31, 2015 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo Credit: Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, poses with the trophy in Victory Lane with wife Samantha and son Brexton Locke after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, places the winner`s decal in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, celebrates with the chequered flag after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, celebrates by kissing the bricks after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS, stops in his pit on his way to a ninth place finish Sunday, July 26, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, races to an eighth place finish with third place finisher Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS Sunday, July 26, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS, races to a third place finish Sunday, July 26, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
A detailed view of the Brickyard 400 trophy prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, and Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, take the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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