Brad Keselowski wins NNS at Iowa

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Brad Keselowski will be taking a trophy with him back to Pocono Raceway. The reigning Sprint Cup champion overcame an early outside tire violation on pit road and overheating issues to win tonight’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Iowa Speedway.

Keselowski was seventh on a restart at Lap 206, but quickly moved toward the front and then took the lead at Lap 215.

A spin from Richard Harriman brought out another yellow at Lap 223, but on the subsequent restart, he held off a brief challenge from Brian Vickers and went on to win by half a second over Penske Racing teammate Sam Hornish Jr.

With the first part of a busy weekend complete, Keselowski will look for a critical victory on the Cup side in tomorrow’s GoBowling.com 400 at the “Tricky Triangle.” But while his Iowa celebration will be short, he was still happy to put the No. 22 Penske Racing Ford in Victory Lane.

“I knew it was going to be about that last restart being really aggressive,” he told ESPN in Victory Lane. “And it was! But that’s what it’s gonna take to win these races, when you have to overcome adversity.

“This Ford Mustang was fast. We just needed to get up to the front, and when we were able to do that, it was ours to win.”

Vickers fell back to third at the finish, followed by Austin Dillon in fourth, and Kyle Larson in fifth.

NHRA: Brittany Force cleared to race this weekend in Phoenix after bad wreck 2 weeks ago

Photo: John Force Racing
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Drag racing is a Force family tradition. So, too, is not keeping a Force family member down.

Just 12 days after the most serious wreck of her six-year drag racing career, Brittany Force and John Force Racing announced late Thursday afternoon that the defending 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champion has been medically cleared and will indeed race in this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

“I flew into Phoenix early this (Thursday) morning and headed straight out to the race track to meet up with my team,” Force said. “I suited up and got belted back into my car that I ran all last season.

“It honestly felt good to be strapped back in and I was surprised how comfortable I was. I’m looking forward to getting back in my car tomorrow (Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying) and getting back in the swing of things with my guys.”

The 31-year-old Force, one of four daughters of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force, suffered a concussion and bruising after the hard crash she was involved in on February 11 in the first round of eliminations of the season-opening NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Shortly after leaving the starting line in a race vs. Terry Haddock, Force’s dragster crossed from the right to left lanes, impacted the retaining wall with a very hard lateral crash, bounced off, spun, went on its side and briefly caught fire after crossing the finish line wheels-up.

While she is still recovering from the bruising, Force feels strong enough to get back behind the wheel. Getting back in the race car could be the best medicine of all, since she has three runner-up finishes in Phoenix, including back-to-back second-place showings in both the 2016 and 2017 national events.

The three-day event kicks off Friday with qualifying rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. ET, the same times as Saturday’s qualifying. Final eliminations begin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.