Saving fuel from the start of the final green-flag run, Brad Keselowski held off Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch to win Friday night's Feed the Children 300 Nationwide Series race at Kentucky Speedway.
In winning his first Nationwide race of the year and the 13th of his career, Keselowski beat runner-up Harvick to the finish line by 1.180sec. Busch rolled across the stripe 3.796sec behind the winner, missing his chance to become a triple winner on the same weekend again.
Kasey Kahne came home fourth, followed by polesitter Elliott Sadler, who took the series points lead from 17th-place finisher Reed Sorenson with his fifth-place run. Sadler leads Sorenson by four points 18 races into the season.
Keselowski said calculating how much fuel he was saving is more of a seat-of-the-pants operation, rather than a precise calculation.
"I like to say it's a special gauge we put in the car—I call it an assonometer," Keselowski said.He added clean air was crucial to the performance of his car.
"I felt like we were pretty good the very first run," Keselowski said. "You never know when you have a race-winning car, especially when it transfers from day into night. I certainly felt more comfortable once I got clean air, and I said something to [crew chief] Todd [Gordon] about it. You get that clean air, and these cars are just phenomenal to drive, and mine was no exception. It was really, really fast."
Keselowski, who led a race-high 132 laps, had pulled away to a lead of more than two seconds before Robert Richardson backed into the outside wall on Lap 133 to cause the fifth caution of the race. Taking fuel only, Keselowski was first off pit road, followed by Harvick and three Turner Motorsports Chevrolets, driven by Mark Martin, Justin Allgaier and Sorenson.
With all drivers trying to save fuel after a restart on Lap 139, Keselowski again pulled out to a lead of more than one second and held the top spot the rest of the way, as the race ran green for the final 61 laps.
Ford drivers Carl Edwards, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Trevor Bayne all had to make late pit stops for fuel. Stenhouse, third in the series standings and 27 points behind Sadler, left the track frustrated.
"That was a tough night," Stenhouse said. "Our [car] was fast. We had a car to win—we just are getting beat on this fuel mileage stuff every week. We're just going to have to go to the shop and figure it out."
Feed The Children 300 Results
July 8, 2011 Kentucky Speedway
Pos. Driver Car Laps Status
1 Brad Keselowski Discount Tire Dodge 200 Running
2 Kevin Harvick Rheem Chevrolet 200 Running
3 Kyle Busch NOS Toyota 200 Running
4 Kasey Kahne GoDaddy.com/Verisign Chevrolet 200 Running
5 Elliott Sadler OneMain Financial Chevrolet 200 Running
6 Kenny Wallace UNOH Toyota 200 Running
7 Michael Annett Pilot/Flying J Toyota 200 Running
8 Carl Edwards Valvoline NextGen Ford 200 Running
9 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Blackwell Angus Ford 200 Running
10 Joey Logano GameStop/Wipeout Toyota 200 Running
11 Trevor Bayne RickyvsTrevor.com Ford 199 Running
12 Joe Nemechek D.A.B. Constructors, Inc. Toyota 199 Running
13 Jason Leffler Great Clips Chevrolet 199 Running
14 Mark Martin Dollar General Chevrolet 199 Running
15 Brian Scott Shore Lodge Toyota 199 Running
16 Mike Wallace Cowboys and Aliens Chevrolet 199 Running
17 Reed Sorenson Rexall Chevrolet 199 Running
18 David Reutimann Aspen Dental Toyota 199 Running
19 Justin Allgaier Brandt Chevrolet 199 Running
20 Aric Almirola Grand Touring Vodka Chevrolet 198 Running
21 Steve Wallace 5-hour Energy Toyota 198 Running
22 Blake Koch Daystar.com Dodge 198 Running
23 David Stremme Keen Parts, Inc. Chevrolet 196 Running
24 Mike Bliss TriStar Motorsports Chevrolet 196 Running
25 Derrike Cope Becker Law Office Chevrolet 196 Running
26 Timmy Hill Lilly Trucking of VA Ford 195 Running
27 Eric McClure Hefty BlackOut/Reynolds Chevrolet 194 Running
28 Charles Lewandoski Key Motorsports Chevrolet 193 Running
29 Kevin Lepage Jimmy Means Racing Chevrolet 193 Running
30 Jamie Dick VivaAutoGroup.com Chevrolet 193 Running
31 Jeremy Clements racedaysponsor.com Chevrolet 176 Running
32 Jennifer Jo Cobb TenForJen.com Dodge 169 Ignition
33 Robert Richardson Jr. North TX Pipe Chevrolet 119 Accident
34 Morgan Shepherd Victory In Jesus Chevrolet 104 Accident
35 Will Kimmel Crosley/Clarksville Schwinn Ford 62 Accident
36 Scott Riggs North TX Pipe Dodge 20 Overheating
37 Jeff Green TriStar Motorsports Chevrolet 18 Vibration
38 Tim Andrews Key Motorsports Chevrolet 11 Transmission
39 Johnny Chapman Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet 10 Ignition
40 Mike Harmon IPT Pellet Grills/Riverwalk Chevy 7 Brakes
41 Chase Miller Key Motorsports Chevrolet 3 Ignition
42 John Jackson CrashClaimsR.us Toyota 3 Electrical
43 Dennis Setzer Jay Robinson Racing Chevrolet 2 Brakes