Brad Keselowski overcame a pit road penalty and an overheating problem in the U.S. Cellular 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Iowa Speedway in Newton on Saturday night to claim his third win of the season and his second Nationwide victory at Iowa.
“They just didn’t give up,” Keselowski said of his team. “They just kept fighting, kept working on it.”
Keselowski was the only Sprint Cup Series regular to make the trip from Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., site of this weekend’s Cup race, to Iowa to compete in the Nationwide Series race. Finishing second to Keselowski was his Penske Racing teammate, Sam Hornish Jr., giving car owner Roger Penske a one-two finish.
“It was a good night, good job for Penske Racing,” Hornish said. “Really proud of what we were able to do.”
Keselowski started having trouble during the first caution that came out on lap 55 when he was issued a pit road penalty for a tire getting out of his pit box. As a result of the penalty, he restarted the race from the 22nd spot. After working his way back into the top-10, he began suffering an engine overheating issue that resulted in a lengthy pit stop that moved him back outside the top-10 for a later restart.
Meanwhile, Austin Dillon was dominating the 250-lap race. Dillon took the lead from Regan Smith on lap 86 and pulled away from the race field. He drove out to a lead of more than three seconds, only to see that margin erased by a yellow flag on lap 141. When the race returned to green, Dillon pulled away again, this time to a margin of over four seconds before another caution came out on lap 172.
Dillon led a race-high 116 laps before losing his lead with a four-tire pit stop under yellow with 50 laps to go. During that caution, four drivers got off pit road in front of Dillon by taking only two tires. Trevor Bayne restarted in the lead, but lost the top spot to Brian Vickers on the restart.
Keselowski, who also took four made his way toward the front. A few laps later, Keselowski took the lead and remained up front the rest of the way. Dillon, on the other hand, was unable to gain much ground, only moving up one position to finish fourth.
A few laps after Keselowski got by Vickers for the lead, Hornish also got by Vickers to take second. Vickers wound up finishing third. Kyle Larson rounded out the top-five. Pole sitter Drew Herring was sixth, Alex Bowman seventh and Elliott Sadler eighth.
Ryan Gifford finished ninth in his Nationwide Series debut, and Bayne rounded out the top-10.
– photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR