After going a lap down because of an unscheduled green-flag pit stop on lap 52 of the Quaker State 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday night, Kasey Kahne battled his way back toward the front, but fell one position shy of the win.
“We had a really good Quaker State Chevrolet,” Kahne said. “Had to pass a lot of cars. We had to adjust on our car a little bit, but not as much as expected.”
Instead that win went to Brad Keselowski, who ran out of gas on his way to pit road for his final pit stop of the race during a cycle of green-flag pit stops that got underway on lap 202 of the 267-lap race. After the stop, Keselowski went into fuel conservation mode for several laps before getting the okay from crew chief Paul Wolfe that he was good on fuel.
“We knew we were close, but we had to stretch it there to make our last window,” Wolfe said.
The win was Keselowski’s third of the season, making him the first three-time winner of 2012. He drove a backup car into victory lane after wrecking his primary on the first lap of practice on Friday.
“What a weekend, man,” Keselowski said in victory lane. “This is my Martinsville car from the Chase last year. Hard work equals results, and this team works hard.”
Denny Hamlin finished third, followed by Kahne’s Hendrick Motorsports teammates — Dale Earnhardt Jr. in fourth, Jeff Gordon fifth and Jimmie Johnson in sixth.
“I was pretty loose,” Earnhardt said. “I wasn’t having a lot of fun that last 30 laps.”
Series points leader Matt Kenseth was seventh.
After Johnson started the race from the pole, Kyle Busch got up front early and led several laps before being taken out of contention in the second half of the race by a broken shock.
Hamlin joined Keselowski, Johnson and Busch as drivers who led several laps throughout the race. Hamlin was running second in the closing laps until he was passed by the hard-charging Kahne for the runner-up spot with four laps to to.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR
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