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Keselowski turns up the heat with third win

Brad Keselowski looked one of the men to beat from early on during Saturday evening's Quaker State 400, and he cruised to his third win of 2012 as his rivals hit problems.
Brad Keselowski was making himself at home again in victory lane for the third time in 2012 and the first time at Kentucky Speedway, where he brushed aside nationwide heatwaves and hot-headed spats on Friday with Juan Montoya to clinch the win in the Saturday evening Quaker State 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.

Keselowski praised his Penske Racing team for their work on Friday, after his clash with Montoya early in practice had seen him put his primary race car into the wall.

"They put together a backup car from last year in 100-degree heat in an hour's time," he marvelled. "Got it on the race track and got to run our laps for practice to make the adjustments we needed to be fast today. That's what badasses do, and that's what got us to victory lane today. I'm proud of these guys for it, damn proud of them."

Far from thinking that his driver had won despite Friday's adversity, crew chief Paul Wolfe was of a mind that Keselowski simply seemed able to find a whole new level of racing when as worked up as he had been by the Montoya incident.

"There are definitely a lot of instances where I've seen Brad be able to find speed in the race car when he is ticked off. Whether or not he's doing it, it seems like it happens," said Wolfe. "Bad Brad was back this weekend - and I don't know whether that's good or bad!"

While Jimmie Johnson had won pole position on Friday, it was the man alongside him on the front row - Kyle Busch - who leapt into the lead for the first 33 laps once the green flag came out, but further back Keselowski was quickly seeing off Kevin Harvick for fifth place and then sliding under Ryan Newman for fourth. Then it was past Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin to slide into second place, and his declaration of intent for the evening was well and truly made.

With Busch complaining of his car being loose, it was just a matter of time before Keselowski took the lead for the first time on lap 34. A few minutes later the first caution of the steamy evening came out when Scott Riggs' #23 car came to a halt out on track after having been off the pace for most of the race to that point.

He wasn't the only one having troubles, with the temperatures only now starting to fall away from the 100 degrees Fahrenheit mark. Joey Logano was having the one thing no driver wants in those circumstances, trouble with his cooling unit - "My A/C broke on lap 20, so I didn't have a fan or anything. Just really, really hot," he said - but it was Tony Stewart who was really having a bad start to the night as the #14 limped into pit lane for emergency repairs to the throttle ignition that put him multiple laps down and ultimately left him classified in a dismal 32nd place.

After the first round of pit stops under caution, Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson once again lined up at the front, and once again Busch took off in front while Keselowski snatched back second place and gave chase. Further back, Kasey Kahne suddenly dived back into pit lane for new tyres after reporting a vibration, which seemed to have put paid to any chances of success for the Hendrick driver this evening.




Related Pictures

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Joey Logano, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, races Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour Energy Toyota, and Ryan Newman, driver of the #39 Tornados Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday in Sparta, Ky. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday in Sparta, Ky. (Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday in Sparta, Ky. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS stops in the pits on his way to his win Sunday, March 1, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS races to victory Sunday, March 1, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS celebrates his victory with a burnout Sunday, March 1, 2015 after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS celebrates his victory Sunday, March 1, 2015 after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 1, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 1, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 1, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 1, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, leads the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 1, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, lead the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 1, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmie John`s/Budweiser Chevrolet, suffers a mechanical issue during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 28, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, leads the field past the green flag to start the NASCAR XFINITY Series Hisense 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 28, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeffrey Earnhardt, driver of the #55 Fronius USA/Viva Auto Group Chevrolet, spins out during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Hisense 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 28, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, soc during practice for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Hisense 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 27, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmie John`s/Budweiser Chevrolet, prepares to drive during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 27, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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