Camping World Truck Series

NCWTS: Brad Keselowski Earns Maiden Win at Bristol

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BRISTOL, Tenn. — From the drop of the green flag, “Thunder Valley” in Bristol Motor Speedway produced some tight and exciting racing – even though the race was postponed due to rain and was scheduled to be a night race. The two Sprint Cup regulars of Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch had great battles throughout the entire race while everyone else, just tried to keep up.

The side-by-side racing the two drivers had – causing everyone to simply hold their breath and wonder how they did not collide – was such a show to watch. It was classic Bristol.

When the checkered flag flew, it was a first-time-winner in Keselowski taking the UNOH 200 at Bristol in his 62nd career start since 2004.

“It means a lot as a driver,” said Keselowski in victory circle. “ Everyone knows I like to do things the hard way and we are here, and I am proud of each and every one of the people that got me here. This series means so much to me so its great to win as a driver and I don’t understate that.”

This win is more than a confidence booster, it is a big moment for the Keselowski family.

“It took a long time to get here and I am thrilled. My family has been a part of this series since the inception. I feel like I have too, whether it’s as a kid watching or now as a team owner and a driver. I got my start in this series, ran my family bankrupt in this series trying to make it. Caught some other breaks to make it to the Cup Series.”

Pole-sitter and four-time Bristol winner Kyle Busch seemed to be the only driver able to muscle Keselowski out of the lead. After leading 81 laps and suffering a flat tire late in the race – battling teammate Darrell Wallace, Jr. for the third spot – he lost six laps en-route to a 24th-place-finish.

Wallace, Jr., showed fantastic speed in the closing stages – passing Busch for second and  had the opportunity to give Keselowski the “Chrome Horn” coming to the white flag but decided not to.

“We finished second, wish I could take it back,” said a frustrated Wallace, Jr. “Thought I got on his bumper pretty good getting into (turn) one but not enough. Good day for our Toyota Care Tundra, just hate finishing second.”

The runner-up result moves him closer to championship contention, now just 33 markers behind points leader Johnny Sauter, who finished in fifth.

A driver with even more heart-breaking disappointment than either Busch or Wallace, Jr. is 2012 Bristol winner Timothy Peters.

Peters, who has shown incredible pace in the Bristol high-banks the last few years, suffered big issues after qualifying and started in the rear of the field. Starting so deep in the field highlights a couple major difficulties that could arise – going a lap down to the leader and/or becoming apart of an accident while trying to gain spots.

Peters experienced both after a three-truck collision on lap-16. He finished in the 26th position, 10 laps down.

A few youngsters – some who missed school for Thursday morning’s race – drove impressive races. John Hunter Nemechek, son of Joe, tied his career-best result of sixth for the third time in 2014. Cole Custer started on the front-row and grabbed a solid top-10 result in eighth. Ben Rhodes and Corey Lajoie earned ninth and tenth respectively.

Though Keselowski would visit victory lane for the first time in his NCWTS career, there were some post-race issues that may put a damper on the win for Keselowski and others. During post-race inspection, the rear spoiler of Keselowski’s No. 19 truck, as well as those of Cole Custer and Ron Hornaday, Jr., all measured too high. As is usual NASCAR protocol, look for any penalties to be announced mid-week.

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About Zach Catanzareti

Zach Catanzareti serves as a Contributing Writer in the NASCAR department for Rubbings Racing and can be followed on Twitter (@zachracing) for the latest NASCAR updates. A native of Easton, Pennsylvania, he also follows IndyCar and Formula 1.

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