Cumberland Times-News

Local Sports

March 8, 2014

Keselowski holds on for Nationwide win in Vegas

LAS VEGAS — Brad Keselowski once blew a tire while leading the final lap of this same Nationwide Series race, so he knew he couldn’t get excited about a victory in Vegas until he actually crossed the line.

He finally got there Saturday after overcoming electrical problems, traffic and Kyle Busch for an uncommonly satisfying victory.

Keselowski held off Busch in the final laps to win the Nationwide race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the first time.

Keselowski earned his 28th career Nationwide win on his 20th track, doing it in his eighth try in Vegas — where he infamously blew a tire on the final lap in 2011, handing a win to Mark Martin.

The 2012 Sprint Cup champion finally cracked this track despite a remarkable series of setbacks and challenges that left Keselowski more relieved than excited.

“We found every way we could to make it hard,” Keselowski said. “This Ford was flying today. These races aren’t getting any easier to win. I drove as hard as I could, every lap.”

Keselowski has been in contention in the Nationwide race in Las Vegas several times over his previous seven starts, but managed just two top-10 finishes after repeated trouble. He found enormous trouble in this one, but still led 144 of the 200 laps.

He had led 106 of the first 139 laps before a sluggish green-flag pit stop allowed Busch to move in front. Keselowski also lost three spots early after sliding through his pit box, and he later lost power because of a faulty alternator, forcing him to turn off equipment.

“It was systematic alternator failure,” crew chief Jeremy Bullins said. “At that point, you go into safe mode, shut off everything you can, and hope the battery makes it to the end. We were losing power at the end, but we had enough to make it.”

Keselowski then navigated through a thicket of traffic on the final laps in an exciting finish.

“I knew it was just a matter of time before (Busch) caught me,” Keselowski said. “I was just trying to get through as much traffic as possible.”

Busch came up from a 37th-place start to finish second on his hometown track, but couldn’t catch Keselowski’s Penske Ford. Busch, who got sent to the back for making adjustments after qualifying, was decidedly unimpressed with his car’s engine, which is from Joe Gibbs Racing, not Toyota.

“Our car was super-fast on the long run,” Busch said. “Best motor won today, that’s for sure. Probably the best car. He was really good. That’s all we had.”

Kyle Larson was third despite early damage to his car, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished fourth in front of 18-year-old rookie Chase Elliott, who posted his first top-five finish.

Larson managed a standout finish despite hitting the wall early in the race, while Elliott also gave an impressive performance.

The race’s most eye-catching move was made by Matt Kenseth, who was racing three wide with Busch and Keselowski when he spun on the final turn on the 159th lap, turning sideways into the straightaway. Kenseth incredibly managed to save it without crashing, while Elliott also narrowly avoided running straight into Kenseth’s perpendicular car.

Regan Smith leads Trevor Bayne atop the Nationwide points standings through three races, with Elliott Sadler in third and Ty Dillon fourth.

1
Text Only
Local Sports
  • Angels Orioles Baseba_Land.jpg Orioles fall to Angels in 13 innings, 1-0

    Albert Pujols put Los Angeles in front with an RBI single, and the Angels held on for a 1-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles that averted a three-game sweep.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Post 13 eliminated, 5-4 Post 13 eliminated, 5-4

    Funkstown Post 211 used a three-run first inning and a pair of single-run innings, and limited the damage on Fort Cumberland Post 13’s 11 hits to notch a 5-4 victory to advance and eliminate the tournament host Thursday in the third round of the Maryland American Legion State Baseball Tournament at Hamilton Field.

    August 1, 2014 2 Photos

  • Hold on a minute ... we know these guys

    Tom Bosley says this isn’t the Garrett County revival of “Space Cowboys”. They’re just getting the band back together — Bosley, Don Stemple, Oren Yoder and Matt Redinger. They’ve been there, done that, and they’re ready, willing and able to be there and do it again.

    July 31, 2014

  • Pee Wee football openings exist

    The following teams of the Tri-State Pee Wee Football League have openings for players, ages 6 and not yet 12: Cumberland Cardinals, contact Norm Spencer, 301-697-0420; Cumberland Raiders, contact Chad Hamilton, 240-362-1800; Cresaptown Eagles, contact Dave Freeman, 240-727-0302; LaVale Lions, contact Ken Ward, 301-616-4773, and Ridgeley Hawks, contact Grant Shoemaker, 301-697-7657.
    Players interested in playing for the Cardinals should report to Bowers Field Monday, Aug. 4, 6 p.m.

    July 31, 2014

  • Sports Calendar - 08/01/2014

    July 31, 2014

  • Manziel battling playbook, Hoyer in first NFL camp Manziel battling playbook, Hoyer in first NFL camp

    Johnny Manziel has quickly learned his college days — on the field anyway — are over.

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • Tennis star Wozniacki to run NYC Marathon Tennis star Wozniacki to run NYC Marathon

    Caroline Wozniacki always feels confident she can outrun her opponent on the tennis court.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ridgeley, Lakeview advance to finals

    POTOMAC PARK — Blake Rhodes doubled and singled twice while Wyatt Yates and Caleb Hare singled three times to power Ridgeley to a 14-4 victory over the Cumberland Kiwanis for a sweep of the Hot Stove League’s National League Championship Series Wednesday at Hamilton Field.

    July 31, 2014

  • Laurel’s Jake Snyder Laurel tops defending champs

    POTOMAC PARK — Falan Garner had three hits and chased home a pair of runs and Laurel held of a furious ninth-inning rally by Funkstown to beat the defending state champs 9-8 Wednesday afternoon at the Maryland American Legion Baseball State Tournament at Memorial Field.

    July 31, 2014 3 Photos

  • Sports Calendar - 07/31

    July 31, 2014