Brad Keselowski benefitted from a late-race penalty on Elliott Sadler to win the Indy 250, the first NASCAR Nationwide Series race ever run at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
In doing so, Keselowski gave Roger Penske his first stock-car victory at the Brickyard to go with Penske’s 15 Indy 500 wins. The victory was Penske’s 100th in NASCAR and Keselowski’s 20th in 183 career Nationwide starts.
And Sam Hornish Jr., a past Indy 500 winner himself, made it a Penske 1-2, solidifying a historic finish on a day filled with weirdness.
“I’ve been watching races here for a long time, as a kid from Michigan,” said Keselowski. “Everybody knows how special Indy is and any win you can have here, whether it’s the 500 here in May or the Brickyard tomorrow, and now the first Nationwide race. Any victory here is very special. Just glad to be able to do it for Roger.”
Dillon brothers Ty and Austin finished third and fifth, respectively, with Denny Hamlin in fourth. Michael Annett won the $100,000 Nationwide Dash 4 Cash prize money.
From the very start, the race was controversial.
Polesitter Kasey Kahne got a bad launch, allowing Kyle Busch to jump to the lead well before he even crossed the start-finish line. In fact, Busch was one-and-a-half car lengths ahead of Kahne when the green flew. But there was no penalty assessed.
Busch held the lead until a competition caution on Lap 16, after which Denny Hamlin took the lead on pit road after a two-tire pit stop.
Then after the restart, Keselowski blew past Hamlin to go to the point on Lap 23. But Busch, who had restarted fifth, was back to the lead by Lap 27.
On Lap 39, Danica Patrick and Reed Sorenson crashed racing for 14th place, with Patrick turning Sorenson’s car in Turn 1 and tearing up the right side of his machine.
The race restarted on Lap 48, with Busch leading Keselowski, Hamlin and Ty Dillon.
But after a debris caution, it was Hornish and Austin Dillon in the lead on the basis of a couple of two-tire pit stops. Keselowski passed them both to reassume the lead only to see another yellow for a Brian Scott spin exiting Turn 4 on Lap 73.
On the restart on Lap 78, Busch spun out after making an aggressive move on Hornish between turns 1 and 2.
The order now was Keselowski, Sadler, Hornish, Austin Dillon and Hamlin, with the track going green on Lap 83.
Keselowski spun the tires on the restart, allowing Sadler to go to the front for the first time. But NASCAR blackflagged Sadler for jumping the restart. “They’re black-flagging me? He (Keselowski) spun his damn tires!” Sadler yelled on the radio but to no avail, as he was forced to make a pass-through penalty on Lap 89. He finished 15th
That put the Penske cars of Keselowski and Hornish in the lead, and from there, they gave Roger Penske his first stock-car victory at Indianapolis.
Sadler leaves Indy with a 1-point lead over Austin Dillon.
Tom Jensen is the Editor in Chief of SPEED.com, Senior NASCAR Editor at RACER and a contributing Editor for TruckSeries.com. You can follow him online at twitter.com/tomjensen100.