After being declared the winner of Friday night’s Feed the Children 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Kentucky Speedway, 30 laps short of the scheduled finish, Keselowski did donuts on the frontstrtech, minus the usual smoke because of the wet, slippery asphalt.
The win was by no means a fluke, because as the race progressed, Keselowski’s car identified itself as the clear class of the field. He took the lead for good on Lap 156, seven laps before NASCAR called the final caution for rain.
The victory was Keselowski’s second of the season and the 22nd of his career.
“I didn’t want it to end this way, but we had a great car,” Keselowski said. “This is the type of car you get like once a year—if you’re lucky. In driving this car I felt like Jimmie Johnson. This is a rocket.”
Elliott Sadler finished second, followed by Matt Crafton, who was making his Nationwide debut. Brian Vickers ran fourth, with Kyle Busch finishing fifth.
A caution on Lap 141 for Carl Long’s spin in Turn 4 gave the lead-lap cars a chance to pit for enough fuel to finish the race, but varying tire strategies scrambled the field for a restart on Lap 146. Matt Crafton, who took fuel only, led the field to green but quickly yielded to Sadler, who took right-side tires only on pit road.
Eleven laps into the run, Keselowski, on four fresh tires, passed Sadler for the top spot. By then he had already put significant distance between his No. 22 Ford and the No. 54 Toyota of Busch, who lost 10 positions on pit road after sliding through his pit stall under the caution.
On Lap 163, NASCAR threw the fifth caution of the race when a brief rain shower hit the track. After seven laps under caution, the rain intensified, and NASCAR ordered the cars to pit road and red-flagged the race after Lap 170 — 30 laps short of the scheduled finish — at 9:44 p.m.
“I don’t want to win a rain race—I want to race!” Keselowski asserted under the stoppage. Keselowski didn’t get his wish, but he got the win.
Notes: Series leader Regan Smith had suspension issues and lost 18 laps in the garage during repairs. His 28-point lead over Justin Allgaier entering the race is now an eight-point advantage over Sam Hornish Jr. (who finished ninth Friday) leaving Kentucky. … Sadler, Vickers, polesitter Austin Dillon and Kyle Larson, the top finishing NNS regulars, qualified for the Nationwide Dash 4 Cash, which starts next week at Daytona.