Despite race wins and championships in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide series, something eluded Brad Keselowski heading into Thursday morning’s rain-delayed UNOH 200 Camping World Truck Series race at Bristol (Ten.) Motor Speedway — a Truck Series win. He was finally able to mark a winning a truck race off the to-do list on Thursday, claiming his first series win after 61-career starts in the Truck Series.
“It was a good battle,” Keselowski said. “I knew we had a shot at it right away from lap one.”
Keselowski led 119 laps of the 200-lap race, and battled Kyle Busch Motorsports all race long. In the end, it was KBM driver Darrell Wallace Jr. who battled Keselowski in the closing laps and finished second.
“I hate finishing second,” Wallace said. “I don’t care if its’ Brad, Kyle (Busch) or anybody else.”
KBM owner/driver Kyle Busch was the only other driver other than Keselowski to lead laps on Thursday, but a tire issue in the final 20 laps sent Busch down pit road for an unscheduled stop that resulted in a 24th-place finish, six laps down.
Busch started on the pole, while Keselowski started third. When the green flag dropped, Keselowski quickly got up to second and then took the lead from Busch for the first time on lap 11.
The two Sprint Cup regulars continued to run first and second, trading the lead a few times, until the fourth and final yellow flag waved on lap 148. On the restart that followed, Wallace was able to get by his boss to take over second and battle Keselowski for the win.
“On that last restart, we got on the top and got around Kyle,” Wallace said. “That was the highlight of the weekend.”
With only four cautions, Thursday’s UNOH 200 went in the record books as the fastest Truck Series race at Bristol, running to completion in one hour, nine minutes and 39 seconds.
Finishing the race third was Ron Hornaday Jr., followed by ThorSport Racing teammates Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter in fourth and fifth. Finishing sixth through 10th were John Hunter Nemechek, Joey Coulter, Cole Custer, Ben Rhodes and Corey LaJoie.