Brad Keselowski led 59 laps en-route to victory in a rain shortened Feed The Children 300 at Kentucky Motor Speedway. The light rains came on lap 170, just 30 laps shy of the end. Within thirty minutes of NASCAR calling the race, the skies opened up, and heavy rains with wind and lightning began. NASCAR definitely made the right call ending the race when they did.
Keselowski who started 19th in his Discount Tire Ford Mustang methodically worked his way through the field and waged a fantastic battle with Kyle Busch near the mid-point of the race. The win gave the 29 year old defending Sprint Cup Series champion his second victory and fourth top-5 of the season. It was also his second victory at the Kentucky Motor Speedway. Keselowski pointed out after the race, “I don’t see any difference in the track tomorrow. I think you will see the same – very similar racing whether it is Nationwide or Cup.”
Busch has dominated the Nationwide Series this season scoring six wins, ten top-5’s in eleven starts. Busch looked to be on cruise control early on the event, pulling out over a three second lead. When asked about how his car handled today, Busch replied, “A couple of runs ago we started getting tight, but the guys here have done a stellar job today being able to give me a race car capable of running up front the way we have.” Busch ended up fifth at the end of the day.
Joe Gibbs Racing driver, Elliott Sadler, who has had an up and down season, scored a much needed second place finish. Sadler was also the first driver to become eligible for the Dash 4 Cash promotion announced at the speedway earlier in the day. Today’s finish was Sadler’s ninth top-10 finish of the season.
Sadler’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Brian Vickers was not talked about much during the race, but managed a fourth place finish which made him eligible for the Dash 4 Cash as well. It also gave JGR three cars in the top five.
Camping World Truck Series driver, Matt Crafton, made an impressive debut in his first Nationwide Series start. Crafton, driving the Richard Childress Racing Menards Chevrolet, ran near the front for the whole race and led eight laps. A 25 second green flag stop due to running out of gas as he entered pit road put him behind, but he managed to work his way back to the front and scored a very respectable third place finish. Crafton will drive the No. 33 two more times this season, again at Kentucky and at Chicago
Austin Dillon who was heavily favored coming into this weekend, started on the pole with a fast lap of 175.758 mph over two full mph over Travis Pastrana who started second. Dillon jumped out to an early lead was tracked down by Busch. Dillon wound up sixth at the end of the day.
Series points leader Regan Smith ran in the top-10 all day, but a broken suspension part sent him behind the wall. He came back out on the track 17 laps down. Smith ended up a disappointing 30th after a 32nd place finish after last week at Road America. Smith’s points lead dropped from a series record (under the new points system) 58 to a mere eight points over Sam Hornish Jr who finished ninth, and just a mere three more points back to Justin Allgaier who finished 13th.
The series’ next stop will be the Subway Firecracker 250 at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday July 5.