BRISTOL — Brad Keselowski’s thoughts turned to family following his first career NASCAR Truck Series victory Thursday at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Keselowski passed defending race champion Kyle Busch with 75 laps to go and held off Busch’s teammate Darrell Wallace Jr. in the UNOH 200. It was his first Truck Series win in 62 starts.
He also became part of the first father-son duo to win in the Truck Series. His father, Bob, won a Truck Series race at Richmond, Va., in 1997 after joining the series three years earlier during its inaugural season.
“My family has been with this series since its inception,” Keselowski said. “I feel I’ve been a part of it too whether it was as a kid watching or now as a team owner and a driver. For me, it’s a big day personally and professionally. I think of the commitment my family has had to this sport and this series for a long time.”
Keselowski, the driver of the No. 19 Ford, became the 25th driver to win in all three of NASCAR’s national series (Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Trucks). The 2012 Sprint Cup Series champion had five second-place finishes in the Truck Series prior to Thursday. It was also Keselowski’s first win driving a racing vehicle which he owned.
“This was more of a personal quest in the sense that I’m the boss and team owner,” said Keselowski, who led three times for 119 laps. “When you have the driver hat and ownership hat on at the same time and you have that control, the failures hit you more personal because there are no excuses. Those failures hit you harder, but the successes mean more because you have a bigger slice of the pie. For me, it’s much deeper than that with my family ties to the sport.”
Wallace, in the No. 54 Toyota, finished second. He closed to Keselowski’s back bumper with two laps to go, but drifted high in turn one and allowed Keselowski to pull away to a 0.776 second margin of victory.
In that final charge, Wallace opted to avoid contact with Keselowski instead of trying to bump him from the lead.
“I try to race everybody with respect,” Wallace said. “I was sitting there in the truck after the race just trying to replay everything and if I could have done anything different. I would have had to wreck him to get by him.”
Four-time Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday Jr. finished third in a Chevrolet.
Matt Crafton, driving a Toyota, finished fourth. Series points leader Johnny Sauter, in another Toyota, finished fifth.
Busch, who has a track record 17 NASCAR national series wins at Bristol, crashed with 22 laps to go. After leading three times for 81 laps, he finished six laps down in 24th place.
Rain washed out the race on Wednesday night.comments powered by Disqus