Brad Keselowski claimed an unexpected victory in the Heluva Good! 200 (yes, that was the actual name!) NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Dover International Speedway.
Keselowski was running third when the green flag waved for the last time with two laps remaining, following the last of nine caution periods. He suddenly found himself leading into Turn 2 when Joey Logano tapped the rear of his teammate Kyle Busch as the leading duo entered Turn 1.
The pair slid up the track after they made contact, leaving the door open for Keselowski and others to get past, and losing Joe Gibbs Racing a certain victory as between Busch and Logano, they had led 195 out of the 200 scheduled laps. While Logano was able to recover and finish second, Busch ended up down in 17th place with a flat right-front tire.
"I saw [Logano] make a move there, looked like something happened to [Kyle Busch], he might have had a flat tire, I'm not sure, but we caught a break and as bad as the first half of the season was about not catching breaks, I finally caught a break," said Keselowski after taking his first Nationwide Series win of the season.
The victory was also the first for JR Motorsports this year, putting a smile on the face of team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr., following a turbulent week for NASCAR's most popular driver.
Logano felt devasted at having ruined the end of the race for both Gibbs cars. His battle with Busch had been race-long and they had swapped the lead between them three times. The 19-year-old had started from pole, then lost the lead on lap 57 when he caught traffic, then regained it in the pits on lap 77 and once again lost out to Busch on lap 109.
He said he had a good final restart and was simply caught out by Busch's slower entry speed into Turn 1.
"I just screwed up," said Logano. "[Busch] had been kicking my butt every restart and that one restart I got a good one at least and got up behind him. I figured he was going to drive off into the corner harder like he had been. He's been killing me in the first corner every time and he checked up early.
"Suddenly I was right on him. I got in the back of him and up the track he went. I mean, it's completely 100 percent my fault, I take total blame for it. I've got to find him and apologize to him."
Busch, who has led nearly half the laps ran during the Nationwide season, was left with yet another near miss after looking to be on his way to what would have been his fourth victory of the season. Four times during the last five races he has led the most laps, but only once has he led through the checkered flag.
Clint Bowyer ran consistently in the top five and finished third without challenging the leading Gibbs' pair. Brian Vickers finished fourth for Braun Racing, while Carl Edwards had a quiet day and rounded out the top five.
Behind them Scott Speed made a great charge from the back of the grid, following an engine change, to score his best result of the season with seventh, and Penske's Justin Allgaier finished 10th as the best rookie of the day.
While Keselowski celebrated his third career victory in the Nationwide series, it was not a good day for the second JR Motorsports car driven by Ryan Newman, who was involved in two separate incidents, the last one putting an early end to his race on lap 126. Other Cup notables facing trouble were David Ragan and Kevin Harvick, who ended up against the barrier when the Roush Fenway racer lost control of his car ahead of Harvick.
Despite his disappointment, Kyle Busch can get some consolation out of looking at the drivers' standings, which he continues to lead by 40 points over Carl Edwards.RESULTS:
Pos Driver Car Laps
1. Brad Keselowski Chevrolet 200
2. Joey Logano Toyota 200
3. Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 200
4. Brian Vickers Toyota 200
5. Carl Edwards Ford 200
6. Paul Menard Ford 200
7. Scott Speed Toyota 200
8. Jason Leffler Toyota 200
9. Jason Keller Ford 200
10. Justin Allgaier Dodge 200
11. Michael McDowell Toyota 200
12. Brendan Gaughan Chevrolet 200
13. Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 200
14. Mike Bliss Chevrolet 200
15. Bobby Hamilton Jr Dodge 200
16. Brian Keselowski Dodge 200
17. Kyle Busch Toyota 200
18. Scott Wimmer Chevrolet 200
19. Michael Annett Toyota 198
20. Brandon Whitt Ford 198
21. Danny O'Quinn Jr Chevrolet 196
22. Morgan Shepherd Chevrolet 196
23. Eric McClure Ford 196
24. Kevin Conway Toyota 194
25. Greg Biffle Ford 191
26. Mike Harmon Chevrolet 175
27. Scott Lagasse Jr Toyota 158
28. Tony Raines Chevrolet 151
29. Steve Wallace Chevrolet 145
30. David Ragan Ford 143
31. Peyton Sellers Chevrolet 128
32. Ryan Newman Chevrolet 126
33. Kenny Wallace Chevrolet 97
34. Marc Davis Toyota 83
35. Kevin Lepage Chevrolet 65
36. Kertus Davis Chevrolet 43
37. Ken Butler III Chevrolet 26
38. John Wes Townley Ford 26
39. Mark Green Chevrolet 14
40. Johnny Chapman Chevrolet 13
41. Terry Cook Chevrolet 11
42. Dennis Setzer Dodge 8
43. Casey Atwood Chevrolet 8