Brad Keselowski spoiled a potentially history-making night from Brian Scott as he took the lead with 10 laps to go and went on to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series’ 1000th race tonight at Richmond International Raceway.
Scott, who led the first 239 of 250 laps, looked set to claim his inaugural NNS victory for much of the night. He maintained the lead through the final round of pit stops under yellow, but a restart with 16 laps to go ended quickly with another caution after Matt Kenseth found the Turn 3 wall.
On the next restart with 11 to go, Scott finally lost the point as Keselowski got past him going into Turn 3 just before the caution came out again for an incident involving Travis Pastrana and Landon Cassill.
Keselowski quickly pulled away on the final restart of the night with six laps remaining, leaving Scott to fend off Regan Smith for the runner-up spot.
“Brian had been going really deep in the [restart] box, and I knew that was going to be his tactic of what he was going to do beside me,” Keselowski told ESPN in Victory Lane. “I just went as soon as we got to the box, and that caught him just a little bit off-guard, and we were able to drive away.”
However, Scott felt that Keselowski jumped the final restart.
“The restart before the last, I didn’t get a great restart, he beat us to the line, and I got a little upset about that call,” said Scott. “Then on the final restart, Brad went two or three car lengths early. I think it looked pretty obvious when I saw the replay on TV.”
“I’ve seen people penalized for less questionable restarts than that, and I don’t understand why there wasn’t a penalty for, 1) beating me to the line on the restart before then; and 2) jumping the [final] one.”
Indeed, an overhead replay of the final restart appeared to show Keselowski moving ahead of Scott on the inside before they both crossed the restart box. However, NASCAR did not call Keselowski for a penalty.
Smith finished third ahead of Kyle Busch in fourth and Trevor Bayne in fifth. Sam Hornish Jr. finished sixth to push his NNS championship lead to 16 points over Austin Dillon, who finished 12th.