Keselowski moves into Sprint Cup points lead

1 Comment

Brad Keselowski is still thirsty for a victory, but the reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup champion still was able to move into the top spot in the Cup standings with his third-place effort in today’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Keselowski was in contention for victory but on the final restart of the day at Lap 459, he was slow coming to the green, allowing Kasey Kahne to take the lead for good.

“I got ran over,” Keselowski said right after the race. “I’d have to take a look at the replay, but it was gonna be a helluva battle between me and Kasey there with four laps to go, but I didn’t get a chance. I’m not sure what happened, if [Denny Hamlin] got pushed from behind or if he just ran me over, but that’s racing.”

“We weren’t close at the start, but at the end the car was pretty good — not quite as good as Kasey’s, but still a great effort.”

He lost one more spot to Kyle Busch before the checkered flag flew, but thanks to Jimmie Johnson’s 22nd place finish, Keselowski will have a nine-point lead in the championship over Dale Earnhardt Jr. going to Auto Club Speedway next weekend. Johnson fell back two spots to third in the standings at 15 points behind.

NHRA Gatornationals: John Force qualifies 15th with no motor explosion, says ‘I need to race smart’ Sunday

Leave a comment

There’s good news and bad news for John Force fans.

The good news is the 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ did not suffer yet another motor explosion after enduring his third in three races during Friday’s qualifying session at Gainesville (Florida) Raceway.

In fact, Force intentionally feathered the gas pedal on his Chevrolet Camaro Funny Car to make sure it wasn’t again overtaxed, qualifying 15th with a run of 4.281 seconds at 222.88 mph.

Now for the bad news.

When Sunday’s final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. ET, Force will be matched against daughter and No. 2 qualifier, Courtney Force (3.914 seconds at 332.18 mph).

“It is a little bit of a bummer that I have to race him in the first round,” Courtney Force said of her father. “Tomorrow is a new day and we will have all our stuff ready and we will put on our game faces to go for that win.”

Courtney Force is seeking her second consecutive win, having also won two weeks ago at the second national event of the season in suburban Phoenix.

“I want to have a good side-by-side safe race tomorrow in round one,” Force said. “Our goal is to take my dad down and have a long day at the track winning rounds.

“We want to move the momentum over from Phoenix. I feel like my guys have a good handle on this Advance Auto Parts Camaro.”

But don’t count out dear old dad, an eight-time Funny Car winner at Gainesville.

“I am the kind of guy that, when it is qualifying day, I run it to the edge.,” John Force said. “I run it even if I know it will hurt itself.

“(With his three motor explosions this season) I am rethinking all that. What I am looking is the long haul. To go out here and say I have to win this race or I have to qualify low after as much stuff as we have put on the ground in Pomona and Phoenix and then to come here and do it again is bad. … We want to fix this problem and move on.

“Tomorrow I am going to have to play the odds game. I am going to run it to 700 or 800 feet and hope (Courtney) gets in trouble. I need to race smart.”

Follow @JerryBonkowski