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Keselowski too strong for Kenseth

In an afternoon of few cautions, Brad Keselowski emerged as the dominant leader ahead of Matt Kenseth for the latter third of the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Brad Keselowski finished on top in the Food City 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway, his second consecutive win at the half-mile concrete oval which is fast becoming his favourite place to race: "What can I say? I love Bristol and Bristol loves me.

"I don't know how anyone can say Bristol racing ain't as good as it was," he beamed in victory lane. "I think they might be right, because it's better than it's ever been: this is one of the best races I've ever been a part of and ever seen from behind the seat!"

It was a race marked by long spells of trouble-free running, an early 45-lap lead for Keselowski's Penske team mate AJ Allmendinger soon eclipsed by Brian Vickers's mighty 125-laps in front midrace that was then itself topped by Keselowski's total of 232 laps in the lead, which included an uninterrupted run of 110 laps to the chequered flag.

Polesitter Greg Biffle had quickly pulled away from fellow front row man Allmendinger at the start of the afternoon's race, which had managed to start only minutes later than originally scheduled despite rain overnight and into the morning that had threatened to delay proceedings. But before the race could even manage to reach the scheduled competition caution organised by NASCAR for lap 50 arranged so that teams could check tyre wear on the now 'green' track washed clean by the rain, there was a multi-car wreck that sucked in a number of the leading contenders.

It started with Kasey Kahne and Regan Smith battling for position on lap 24; Kahne thought he was clear ahead of the #78 and moved up the track accordingly, but it wasn't the case. Smith tried to check up, promptly got tagged from behind by Keselowski, which sent him back into Kahne and after that there was just a chain reaction of collisions. Kahne's #5 was badly damaged, as was Kyle Busch's #18, Marcos Ambrose's #9 and Carl Edwards' #99. Kevin Harvick's #29 also sustained some damage, while Keselowski escaped with only minor scrapes.

"We were going forward, just taking our time," explained Kahne. "Regan Smith was pretty slow. I was under him for a couple of laps. When my spotter cleared me in the centre, I just took off, and he was there on exit. It is disappointing to have that good of a car and be out this early ... I listened too much to my spotter I guess," he added pointedly, referring to his cousin Kole.

“I think Regan was battling with that same thing we all battle with here which is should you let the guy go or keep racing him," said Carl Edwards while waiting for his car to be patched up again. "Kasey probably thought he was clear and that ended up in a wreck. It is hard to put 43 cars on a half-mile going this fast and not wreck. It is too bad it happened this early. We have a really great race car and I was excited to race today. I wanted to drive more."

Edwards did finally get back out, but he would end up 255 laps off the lead. Likewise Kahne was 134 laps down and Ambrose 111 laps down by the time they rejoined; Busch's repairs had been the quickest but even he was 77 laps off the lead and just doing some damage limitation in the points standings in what's proved to have been a bad start to the 2012 season for the Joe Gibbs driver.

“We picked up seven points by getting back out there and finishing the race the way we did,” Busch's crew chief Dave Rogers said. “As you know, every point is important. It's just a shame we were out before the track even got a chance to get rubbered up ... What happened today was really nobody's fault."




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Matt Kenseth leads Brad Keselowski during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 on Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, Marcos Ambrose, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick get caught up in a wreck between Turns 1 and 2 to bring out the first caution during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 on Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn. (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Brad Keselowski claims his second consecutive chequered flag at Bristol Motor Speedway in Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn. (Photo Credit: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, races to win Sunday, August 17, 2014 in the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy Johns Chevrolet SS finished second. This was Gordon`s third win of the season. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, celebrates with a burnout after winning the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race Sunday, August 17, 2014 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. This was Gordon`s third win of the season. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
With General Motors CEO Mary Barra, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, holds the Michigan Heritage Trophy after winning the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race Sunday, August 17, 2014 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. This was Gordon`s third win of the season. In 2013, MIS began awarding the Michigan Heritage Trophy as a recognition and celebration of the automobile and it`s importance to the race track and the manufacturers competing in NASCAR. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, celebrates with his crew after winning the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race Sunday, August 17, 2014 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. This was Gordon`s third win of the season. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy Chevrolet, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row Chevrolet, Trevor Bayne, driver of the #21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford, Justin Allgaier, driver of the #51 Brandt Professional Agriculture Chevrolet, and Michael Annett, driver of the #7 Allstate Peterbilt/Pilot Chevrolet, are involved in an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, and Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, lead the field to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, races Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, leads the field at the start of the Nationwide Childrens`s Hospital 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 16, 2014 in Lexington, Ohio.  (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Johnny Sauter, driver of the #98 Nextant/Curb Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Careers For Veterans 200 at Michigan International Speedway on August 16, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, captured the pole position Friday, August 15, 2014 for Sunday`s Pure Michigan NASCAR Sprint Cup 400 race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. The was Gordon`s second pole position this season. He set a new track record in the final round of qualifying with a lap of 206.558 mph. Gordon is second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, celebrates capturing the pole position Friday, August 15, 2014 for Sunday`s Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. The was Gordon`s second pole position this season. He set a new track record in the final round of qualifying with a lap of 206.558 mph. Gordon is second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, celebrates with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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