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Keselowski too strong for Kenseth

For Earnhardt, it was the second week in a row that he'd ended up sending a friend into an accident. Last week he'd punted former Hendrick team mate Mark Martin into the wall in a momentary burst of pique for an earlier perceived discourtesy and had to apologise the next day.

"Well, I don't have to hear about me and Mark Martin anymore," said Earnhardt ruefully. He added that he "hates that it happened" and that he "will try to take better care of a teammate" in future but that he wasn't going to beat himself up over a racing incident, either.

That left Kenseth and Keselowski once again battling for the lead at the restart on lap 371; Kenseth was initially able to ward off the #2's advances, but finally on lap 385 he succumbed and Keselowski was back in charge. Kenseth stayed right with him, clamped to the rear fender of the blue deuce, but Keselowski was making no mistakes now and giving Kenseth no chance to get back in front this close to the end.

There were still some tense moments left - everyone was very marginal on fuel, and then a late sixth caution on lap 478 for a spin by Tony Stewart following contact from Brendan Gaughan put the rear of the #14 into the wall and offered up a final chance to Kenseth to attack Keselowski at the restart.

"Brendan came down and told me and all of my guys sorry, which we really appreciated,” said Stewart of the accident. “He went down into [three] and the brake pedal went to the floor. It's kind of good that I was there to somewhat slow him down a little bit, but at the same time we had a top ten run going there."

When it came to the restart on lap 484, Brad still wasn't budging. He took the outside line and quickly pulled away from Kenseth in the final minutes to make it to the chequered flag with a relatively comfortable margin of victory of 0.714s at the end of 500 laps.

"He was just better than me," admitted Kenseth after finishing in second place. "He could keep his tyres on the car a little better and got off the corner that much better than me to where I couldn't get by him. That was the difference."

"The last few races have been really good, and I knew we had a shot at winning one if we closed the deal," said Keselowski. "Matt didn't make it easy!"

Winning for the first time in 2012 was just whetting Keselowski's appetite for more. "I'm just thrilled to death to be here in victory lane at Bristol again, one of my favourite places for sure," he said. "If this team keeps performing like they are, we'll get more.

"We need to keep winning races to lock ourselves in the Chase, but heck, I'd rather just go into the Chase in the top spot," he added. "If we run like we have the last few weeks we've got as good a shot as anybody else!"




Related Pictures

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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)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Redd`s Wicked Apple Ale Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Redd`s Wicked Apple Ale Ford, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finished in 5th position and Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS finished in 12th position Sunday, October 19, 2014 in the final Contender 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama. Newman, who was in the Chase, advances to the Eliminator 8 phase of the Chase which begins next week at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. Kahne, who was also in the Chase, did not advance. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS finished in 26th position and Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Dow Chevrolet SS finished in 13th position Sunday, October 19, 2014 in the final Contender 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama. Gordon, who was in the Chase, advances to the Eliminator 8 phase of the Chase which begins next week at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Smithfield Ford, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Halloween Toyota, are involved in an on track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
The crew of Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Redd`s Wicked Apple Ale Ford, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Redd`s Wicked Apple Ale Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Crew members work on the Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Halloween Toyota, in the garage area during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Redd`s Wicked Apple Ale Ford, leads the field near the end of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Redd`s Wicked Apple Ale Ford, races Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Redd`s Wicked Apple Ale Ford, celebrates with an American flag after winning during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Redd`s Wicked Apple Ale Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet, lead a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch. August 20 2014. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth at Watkins Glen. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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