Brad Keselowski wins first Nationwide Series race at Brickyard
BY TINA AKOURIS Sun-Times Media July 28, 2012 9:50PM
Brad Keselowski kisses the bricks after winning the first Nationwide Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday. | Nick Laham~Getty Images
Updated: August 30, 2012 6:35AM
INDIANAPOLIS — It seemed as if Elliott Sadler not only had the inaugural Indiana 250 on Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway wrapped up, but he was looking at collecting his second consecutive NASCAR Nationwide Series victory after winning at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet a week ago.
Then came a black flag.
Sadler had to park with 11 laps to go because NASCAR officials said he jumped to full speed too quickly on a restart on Lap 85. Sadler lost the lead, and Brad Keselowski took over, going on to win a race that could have been Sadler’s and reducing Sadler’s Nationwide points lead to one over Richard Childress Racing teammate Austin Dillon.
Sadler argued over his radio communication that Keselowski spun his tires, forcing Keselowski’s No. 22 Dodge to slow down.
“It happened really fast,” Keselowski said. “My perception was that I got a push from [teammate] Sam [Hornish Jr.], and it was more than I could take. I wasn’t going full throttle. It appeared that Elliott got a push from behind as well, but I don’t know how it all played out.”
On the questionable restart, it appeared that Dillon pushed Sadler, while Keselowski slowed. Dillon said he thought he heard Keselowski spin his tires.
“I feel like, going into it, I loaded to go, and [Keselowski], I felt I heard him go, so I pushed Elliott and the 22 spun his tires,” Dillon said. “And past that, I just went. I went when the green was out.”
But the black flag didn’t diminish what Keselowski and Hornish, who finished second, accomplished for owner Roger Penske.
This was the first time Penske won a NASCAR race at the Brickyard, and it was his 100th overall victory as a NASCAR owner. Penske is a legend in auto racing, but more so on the open-wheel side with his 15 Indianapolis 500 victories.
Ty Dillon, a regular in the Camping World Truck Series, finished third in his first race at the Brickyard. Ty’s older brother, Austin, was the highest-finishing rookie, placing fifth.
This was the first year the Nationwide Series raced at the iconic IMS. In years past, the Nationwide race was always at Lucas Oil Raceway, about five miles away.
Danica Patrick used the new location as motivation, but she ended her day on Lap 38 when she hit Reed Sorenson’s left rear bumper. The contact caused Sorenson’s
No. 98 Ford to get loose and spin in front of Patrick’s No. 7 Chevrolet. Patrick then T-boned Sorenson, sending her car into the Turn 2 wall.
Patrick’s car was totaled. Sorenson said of his car: “She killed us on the right side.”
“I would have loved to have done well on this track,” said Patrick, who switched to NASCAR full-time from IndyCar. “I picked the wrong line. I’m sorry if I did anything [wrong].”