SPARTA, Ky. — Brad Keselowski showed early and often that his No. 2 Ford was the best car at Kentucky Speedway, dominating the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Saturday night to become the track’s first repeat winner.
The Penske Racing driver and 2012 race winner followed his record-breaking pole effort to lead 199 of 267 laps en route to his second victory of the season and 12th of his career.
Keselowski won from the pole for the first time, pulling away after rallying from sixth on a restart to chase down and pass leader Kyle Busch on Lap 248.
“Our car was awesome,” said Keselowski, who has led a series-high 346 laps in four starts at Kentucky. “The team did a great job and I’m just really thankful to have a car this good. I don’t know how else to put it.”
Keselowski’s postrace celebration was marred after he cut his right hand on a broken champagne bottle and was taken to the infield care center.
“We were playing around with some champagne and I told my good friend I should have stuck with beer,” Keselowski joked after receiving four stitches. “We had too much fun with champagne and one of the bottles broke and I cut my hand open. It’s no big deal.”
Busch was second, followed by Ryan Newman, Matt Kenseth and Dale Earnhardt Jr., who rallied from a 29th-place start.
A night after dominating the Nationwide Series race before finishing second to Kevin Harvick, partly because of a pit-road speeding penalty, Keselowski saved his heavy foot for the bumpy, rough track. The 2012 Cup champion went on to win by 1.014 seconds and post his ninth top-10 this season in moving one spot to fourth in the standings.
Teammate Joey Logano started second and led 37 laps in a ninth-place effort while Busch led 31 in a race that featured 12 lead changes — all but one featuring Penske drivers.
“I felt like we were better than (Newman), but nowhere near as good as (Keselowski) or (Logano),” Busch said.
“Those guys were really stout.”
Keselowski, also the winner in Las Vegas, became the first driver this season with multiple victories on 1.5-mile tracks that make up much of the Chase for the Sprint Cup. The circuit won’t see another such track until late August at Atlanta, and Keselowski made a case for being a favorite with arguably the most impressive run of his career.
It followed his track-record qualifying speed of 188.791 mph and 138 laps led in the Nationwide race, which also featured a furious late run before settling for second to Harvick, who was seventh in the 400-mile race. This time he had enough laps to pass Busch.
H uertas leads Colombian sweep: In Houston, Carlos Huertas raced to his first IndyCar Series victory, leading a Colombian sweep of the rain-soaked podium Saturday in the Grand Prix of Houston doubleheader opener.
Strategy put Justin Wilson and Huertas in the lead late in the race. Wilson eventually had to pit for fuel. Huertas assumed the lead with just over seven minutes to go.
Then a caution briefly slowed action but IndyCar had enough time to run one final lap.
Only Graham Rahal ran into the back of third-place Tony Kanaan before the restart. IndyCar could not go green and the race ended with Huertas leading Juan Pablo Montoya and Rahal across the finish line.
But Rahal was penalized for hitting Kanaan, so third-place went to Carlos Munoz in the first all-Colombian sweep of the podium in IndyCar history.