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article imageNASCAR: Keselowski wins his first Sprint Cup

By John Duarte     Nov 19, 2012 in Sports
Homestead - One week after they fought in pit lane, Jeff Gordon’s and Clint Bowyer’s teams fought on the race track. But that didn’t stop the Florida sunshine from beaming down on Brad Keselowski at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Keselowski came into the weekend knowing all he had to do was finish 15 or better at the Ford EcoBoost 400 if he was to win the 2012 Sprint Cup. He did exactly that en route to the NASCAR title.
“We were not as fast as we wanted to be, and we’d be the first to admit that, but my guys never gave up.” Keselowski said he felt Jimmie Johnson was strong enough to win the race. But that too wasn’t meant to be.
Johnson’s woes started on Lap 214 when he pulled out of pit lane with a loose wheel nut. Race officials mandated he had to return to the pits to fix the problem. Ten laps later, a driveline problem forced Johnson to park his car. By then, Keselwoski said he had little to worry about.
“We kept working and, at the end there, we were even capable of getting back enough to where it wouldn’t have mattered if he’d have won,” he said.
Keselwoski joins Bobby Labonte as the only drivers to win the NASCAR’s two top-flight series, the Sprint Cup and the Nationwide series. He wins his first championship on his 125th Sprint Cup race, the fewest since Gordon won his first of four titles, in 1995, after only 93 starts.
“It means the world to me,” Keselwoski said about the championship. “I’ve got the best team in racing and I’m just so thrilled to be a part of it.”
As for the race, Gordon won the Ford EcoBoost 400, crossing the line just over a second ahead of Bowyer. A week ago in Phoenix, the two were involved in an on-track incident that lead to their respective teams brawling in pit lane after the race.
“We came into some lap traffic and I could tell he (Bowyer) was pretty anxious and running hard. It didn’t matter who was behind me. I’ll be honest. I wanted to win the race.” Gordon said that his mind was only on what was happening on the track this week. “We just really tried to focus on our car, our team, our position and get the most out of it. After it was over, I thought, I can’t believe that we’ve just finished first and second after what happened last week.”
Bowyer too downplayed the events of a week earlier. “I really just wanted to catch the 24 (Gordon’s car). That’s the only thing that went through my mind in the end.”
He did, however, ponder what could have been if not for what transpired in Phoenix. But he quickly dismissed the thought and rejoiced in finishing as runner up to the 2012 Sprint Cup.
“When we made the Chase, my realistic goal was to be in the Top 5,” he said. “And to be able to exceed that, I mean, we had a shot at it until last week. You just can’t ask for more than that.”
Brad Keselowski takes a victory lap at Homestead-Miami Speedway  on Nov. 18  2012  after winning his...
Brad Keselowski takes a victory lap at Homestead-Miami Speedway, on Nov. 18, 2012, after winning his first NASCAR Sprint Cup championship.
John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR
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