Brad Keselowski dominated, leading 146 laps to win Saturday night’s 250-lap U.S. Cellular 250 Nationwide Series race at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa.
Keselowski earned his third NNS win of the season, his third career win at Iowa and his 30th career NNS triumph. Keselowski and Sam Hornish Jr. were the class of the field, with Hornish leading 65 laps.
“I thought Sam Hornish and Michael McDowell were good all night,” Keselowski said. “They were tough to beat. We gave it all we had, but it very easily could have turned out differently. … It’s great for the team and am real happy for them and glad to be part of it.”
Keselowski hopped a plane after Saturday afternoon’s final Sprint Cup practice at Pocono Raceway and headed to Iowa. And no sooner was Saturday night’s celebration over, Keselowski flew back to compete in Sunday’s Cup race back at Pocono.
“When Brad makes this trek across country, it’s for only one thing, and that’s to win,” said Keselowski’s crew chief, Jeremy Bullins.
Hornish was second going into the final pit stop with eight laps to go after James Buescher’s spin brought out the caution flag. Hornish chose to take four tires and fuel that left him leaving pit road in seventh position.
Still, he managed to get back to fourth, falling short of his quest to win both NNS races at Iowa this season, having gone to victory lane in the first race there in May.
“It was the chance that we had to go out there and win,” Hornish said of the strategy on his final pit stop. “Maybe we would have got it with two, but I got us a little bit ahead of the track.
“It’s just one of those days. I’m real happy with the car they gave me, and maybe another two laps and we’d probably be back up to second.”
Michael McDowell finished second in the race. He took the lead from Keselowski on the final restart, but Keselowski got it back the following lap and pulled away for the win.
“We took two tires at the end, the crew got me out second,” McDowell said. “We came so close. A great run and I’m very blessed and thankful.”
Pole-sitter Trevor Bayne finished third and also won an extra $100,000 by being the final driver to win the Nationwide Insurance Dash-4-Cash contest that has taken place the last five races. Nationwide is leaving as series sponsor following this season.
Last week’s winner at Indianapolis, Ty Dillon, finished fifth. Regan Smith finished sixth, followed by Brian Scott, Chase Elliott, Dylan Kwasniewski and Elliott Sadler in 10th.
The overall points standings also tightened significantly. Elliott remains in first, but with just a two-point lead over Smith. Sadler and Dillon moved into a tie for third place, 12 points behind Elliott.
Hornish grabbed the lead on a restart on Lap 117, held on at the halfway point (Lap 125) and remained at the point until Keselowski took the lead back on Lap 164.
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