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Keselowski turns up the heat with third win

It remained Busch/Keselowski/Johnson ahead of Denny Hamlin even after the next round of green flag pit stops just before the 100 lap mark, but then Keselowski turned up the heat on Busch and on lap 119 Busch slapped the wall out of turn 2. He was able to keep going, and a debris caution a few minutes later meant that Keselowski wasn't quite able to press home his advantage just yet.

Denny Hamlin - who just prior to the race had tweeted that he had successfully sealed a contract extension deal at Joe Gibbs Racing, which hadn't been up until the end of 2013 in any case - was able to get the jump over his team mate Kyle Busch for the lead. Buch battled for second place with Johnson for a few laps but was clearly not as strong as he had been and had to settle for third ahead of Keselowski.

A blown engine for Dave Blaney on lap 150 brought out the third caution of the evening and triggered more pit stops, after which the race resumed with the top four unchanged and Martin Truex Jr. having passed Clint Bowyer for fifth just before the yellow flags. Bowyer had fallen to tenth for the restart and then been the innocent bystander when Joey Logano and Ryan Newman had made contact, which had left Bowyer on the receiving end and having to pit the #15 on lap 170 for new tyres and repairs that put him two laps down.

"Just got hit from behind and knocked in my quarter panel and made me really, really loose for a few laps," said Logano.

"He lost control in the middle of three and four," insisted Newman of the incident from his vantage point. "I got into the back of him on accident, but I mean that is part of it. He lost control in the first place, I went to go drive around the outside of him and I don't know if he was half ways blocked me or what. It just about spun him around into the #15 and I guess if the #15 wasn't there it would have."

At the front, Hamlin was still firmly in charge but as the laps remaining ticked below one hundred to go he was getting messages from pit lane to start thinking about fuel saving strategies. He was not alone. A new round of green flag pit stops commenced soon after lap 200, but then the game plan changed when Ryan Newman blew his engine and spun on lap 210, hitting the wall in turns 1 and 2.

"Just something blew up, that was the bottom end of the motor," shrugged Newman. "It was going to be a decent night, maybe not a great night points wise. Points wise maybe a good night, but not a great night for a top five. Something on the bottom end of the motor of the Tornados Chevrolet."

Regan Smith was also in the wrong place at the wrong time, hitting the oil slick laid down from the blown Chevrolet.

"I was right there with him," said Smith. "I saw it, but there is not much you can do. I went sideways as soon as I hit the oil. It was unfortunate because we had a good car. In fact, we were getting better on every run and I truly felt we had a good shot at a top ten."

Ironically, Newman's wreck proved good news for former Cup points leader Greg Biffle: having already got one of his laps back during the green flag pit stop cycle, Biffle had been the highest-placed car off the lead lap when Newman hit the wall and duly got the wave-around, enabling him to get back on the lead lap, although he would drop off again before the end and would finish in a damage limitation 21st.

Two of the former race leaders now hit problems: even before the caution, Kyle Busch had been very slow on the race track and reported that something had broken on the #18, possibly a shock absorber as a result of that earlier hit with the wall.

"We salvaged a heck of a finish for what all we had to go through," reported Busch after the race. "Definitely not any fun to drive, but had to do what we could on three pogo sticks."




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)
Denny Hamlin and Darian Grubb, the crew chief of the #11 Joe Gibb Racing Toyota, consult in the garage area during testing at Charlotte Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars into the pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Time Warner Cable Chevrolet, leads during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, lead the field to the green flag for the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, and Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Resers Toyota, lead the field at the start of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Lilly Diabetes 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Andy Lyons/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, leads the field out of the pits during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, qualifies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet SS, qualified sixth fastest Saturday, July 26, 2014 for Sunday`s Brickyard 400 Nascar Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS, qualified fourth fastest Saturday, July 26, 2014 for Sunday`s Brickyard 400 Nascar Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, qualified 2nd fastest Saturday, July 26, 2014 for Sunday`s Brickyard 400 Nascar Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Next to him on the front row will be pole winner Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, was the fastest qualifier Saturday, July 26, 2014 to capture the pole position for Sunday`s Brickyard 400 Nascar Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS will join him on the front row. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, drives through the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents, the John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 25, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, drives through the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 25, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr. , driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, celebrates after winning the Camping World Truck 2nd Annual 1-800 Car Cash Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway on July 23, 2014 in Rossburg, Ohio. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, does a burnout after winning the Camping World Truck 2nd Annual 1-800 Car Cash Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway on July 23, 2014 in Rossburg, Ohio. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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