Brad Keselowski became the first three-time winner of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season on Saturday (June 30) night and he did it in his back-up car.
Keselowski had wrecked his primary car when he tangled with Juan Pablo Montoya during the first lap of practice on Friday. But that disappointment was all but forgotten a little over 24 hours later as he drove into Victory Lane after the Quaker State 400. The result at the Kentucky Speedway gave Keselowski three wins on the circuit, the most of any driver in the Sprint Cup Series this year.
“This shows the importance of teamwork and the group of guys I have on this Miller Lite team that are just bad-asses.” Keselowski praised his crew for their work after the Friday incident. “They put together a back-up car from last year in 100-degree heat in an hour’s time. Not even an hour. It was like 40 minutes.”
Kasey Kahne trailed Keselowski by just over four seconds at the finish line in second place. Denny Hamlin, who was conserving fuel in the closing stages of the race, couldn’t hold off the charging Kahne and wound up third.
After his latest win, Keselowki is now 10th in the Sprint Cup standings and feels a bit more comfortable that he will be in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. He says consistency will be the key for the rest of the season.
“You go out and win races and execute and do all those things,” he said when asked what it will take to win the NASCAR championship this year. “Don’t rest on your laurels. You’ve got to win races.”
Matt Kenseth widened the gap at the top of the Sprint Cup leader board. He is 11 points ahead of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and 23 up on Jimmie Johnson.
The 18th of 36 Sprint Cup races on the NASCAR schedule goes Saturday, July 7, in Daytona with the Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola.