Published April 26, 2013
Brad Keselowski pulled away from challengers Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch in the closing laps and won Friday night’s ToyotaCare 250 Nationwide Series race at Richmond International Raceway.
Keselowski, winning in the series for the first time this year, took the lead from Busch with 10 laps to go after a restart and held it the rest of the way.
Busch had the lead at the final restart with 12 to go but couldn’t hold the track’s low line.
“I got a small opportunity when Kyle bobbled in three and four, and I used it to get a run to take the lead going into turn one, and that was all she wrote,” Keselowski said.
“It’s very gratifying. We’ve had a lot of seconds this year but hadn’t been able to get that win. We’ve struggled here at Richmond in both (Nationwide and Sprint Cup) cars. It’s great to get that turned around.”
Harvick was second, Busch third, Brian Vickers fourth and Regan Smith fifth.
Sam Hornish Jr. finished seventh and kept the series point lead. Travis Pastrana took ninth, the best finish of his career.
Keselowski’s win ended a three-race winning streak by Busch, who had a strong car late in the race but lost the handle in the final miles.
The final portion of the race featured some great competition between Keselowski, Busch and Harvick as they wrestled for the front.
“I thought it was pretty darn good,” Keselowski said. “I was grinning the whole time. Kyle and Kevin raced me really well. There were little touches but not big ones.
“You know you’re racing the best and that if you make a mistake they’re going to beat you. And they both almost did. You try to run a mistake-free race and look for opportunity. When it comes, you’ve got to strike.”
Late-race contact between Nelson Piquet Jr. and Brian Scott resulted in a shoving match on pit road after the race as the drivers confronted each other. Each blamed the other for a crash on the last lap, and both indicated problems between them are not over. Scott said Piquet kicked him “below the belt.”
The race went under caution for the sixth time on lap 212 as Austin Dillon and Justin Allgaier tangled in turn three, collecting Scott in the mess. They were racing for position in the top 10. They entered the race third (Dillon), fourth (Allgaier) and fifth (Scott) in points.
Hornish led 83 laps in the first half of the race. Harvick and Elliott Sadler were the only other strong frontrunners in that portion of the race.
Busch won four of the season’s first six races, but he led only two of the first 125 laps Friday night before rallying to challenge for the win late.
The race had an unusual start as Dexter Stacey’s car soaked the track with fluids on lap 25, causing a long cleanup and a 5:14 red flag.
The second caution appeared on lap 102 because of rookie Alex Bowman’s accident in the second turn.
ToyotaCare 250 Race
Mike Hembree is NASCAR Editor for SPEED.com and has been covering motorsports for 31 years. He is a six-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.