Brad Keselowski secured his sixth NASCAR Nationwide Series victory of the season, leading 105 of 200 laps to win the O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway after a late-race battle with Denny Hamlin.
The win also enabled the No. 22 Penske Racing team to gain the lead in the NNS owner’s championship over the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing team. Kyle Busch, driving the No. 54 today, finished four laps down in 26th place after crashing in Turn 4 during the middle stages of the race.
Put the two results together and the No. 22, which has won 12 times in the NNS this year with four different drivers (Keselowski, A.J. Allmendinger, Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney), is now ahead of the No. 54 by a margin of 26 points in the owner’s race.
“It is good,” Keselowski said of the situation in the owner’s championship. “We have two races left but it isn’t over.”
Sam Hornish Jr. was able to slightly trim his deficit to Austin Dillon in the NNS driver’s championship. Hornish was penalized early on for a pit road commitment violation when he hit a cone, and subsequently lost a lap.
But he was able to get back on pace with the leaders and climbed into the Top 10 at halfway before winding up with a third-place result – two spots ahead of Dillon in fifth. With two races remaining in the season, Dillon now holds a six-point advantage over Hornish for the driver’s title going into Phoenix next weekend.
Matt Kenseth, who will look to take control of the Sprint Cup championship lead tomorrow in the AAA Texas 500, finished fourth.