In what may have been one of the strangest races in recent history at Bristol Motor Speedway, which featured minimal cautions and long green-flag runs, a familiar sight continued to take place on the half-mile oval as Brad Keselowski went on to claim the victory in Sunday’s Food City 500.
Leading 232 of the 500 laps in the event, Keselowski held of challenges from Matt Kenseth in the closing stages of the race to pick up his fifth career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win, and second at Bristol.
“Everybody back at the shop just did a phenomenal job,” said Keselowski in victory lane after tweeting a picture looking out at Bristol’s victory lane. “Last few races have been really good,and I knew we had a shot at winning one of them if we ran like we were and today we closed the deal.”
Oddly enough, the race came down to the drivers who pulled the controversial moves in the August race just one year ago. Both Keselowski and Kenseth took advantage of NASCAR’s timing lines on pit road to grab the top spots of pit road late in the race. For that very reason, NASCAR created new timing lines on pit road so that would not happen.
“I’m sure there’s a rule that could be made,” said Keselowski when he was asked about the new timing line rules. “I got on Twitter, and got mad at some people that sad I won it because of the timing lines. I knew this blue deuce was fast enough to win the race last fall with or without the timing lines. It just feels so good to prove it here today.”
Keselowski’s win marks the tenth time that Penske Racing has gone to victory lane at Bristol, each with the No.2 car winding up in the winner’s circle. Runner-up finisher, Kenseth, appeared as though he had something for Keselowski before the sixth and final caution flag on lap 478. When the race was restarted, the No.17 never got back to Keselowski’s bumper.
“That last run we got a little too loose,” said Kenseth after the race. “I was just too free. He could really roll the bottom and I knew he was good on old tires. I could just keep up and that was about it.”
Quite possibly the story of the day however was Brian Vickers. Vickers, who signed a six race deal with Michael Waltrip Racing to drive the No.55 Toyota, leading 125 laps en route to a fifth place finish. “When it’s your only one, you got to make it count,” said Vickers after the race. “I can’t take any of the credit. I’m just proud to be a part of MWR.”
“Rodney Childers (crew chief) bolted together my first go-kart twenty years ago and now he just put together my last one. What a great race.” With Vickers’ top-five finish, he adds to top-five runs by teammates Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr. to mark the first time that all three MWR cars have finished inside the top-five in one race.
As the Sprint Cup Series heads to Auto Club Speedway next weekend, Greg Biffle retains his points lead. However, Sunday marks the first time all season that he has finished outside of the top-five in 2012.