Friday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Kentucky Speedway seemed to be a one-horse race. That was until the one horse was caught speeding and served a costly penalty.
Brad Keselowski had the car to beat until receiving the penalty on Lap 148. This allowed race-winner Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch to take over the top two spots as they battled closely for victory.
Keselowski’s near-perfect day began on the pole. He led for most of the first three quarters of the race and only surrendered the top spot a few times during yellow-flag pit stops.
Almost all NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regulars fared well throughout the night. Matt Kenseth began the race among those drivers but a Lap 101 crash on the backstretch took away his shot at a decent finish as he ended up 36th.
For most drivers, their only time on pit road under green took place during the final pit stop cycle of the race. Keselowski was among them as it was this stop in which he was caught speeding. A yellow-flag seven laps later allowed the No. 22 car to take advantage of the wave-around and earn a spot back on the lead lap.
Busch led on the ensuing restart and was soon challenged by Harvick. Just as the two were side-by-side, the fifth caution was displayed for a wreck on the backstretch involving Regan Smith who made contact with Ryan Reed.
The saying ‘cautions breed cautions’ was never more true than in this portion of the event as another yellow-flag flew two laps following the restart.
This bunched the field up once more and the battle for the lead roared on. Busch initially pulled away from Harvick. The gap slowly started to close before the seventh and final caution came out for an incident involving Trevor Bayne and Chase Elliott.
The restart gave Harvick the opportunity he had been looking for as he powered past Busch. Keselowski had crept back into the picture and restarted third. He would come home second to top off an impressive comeback.
The No. 5 JR Motorsports entry was unchallenged in the final laps as Harvick sailed to his second victory of the season.
“(I) got a good restart” Harvick credited his late race surge in victory lane. Keselowski also chimed in post-race discussing how fast Harvick was at the end.
The speed and performance of the cars may have had an impact tonight but it will all be thrown out the window next Friday night. Luck controls the game at Daytona and it could very well be anyone in victory lane on July 4th.
Results via ESPN.com
|33||Ruben Garcia Mateos||Chevrolet||183||39||0||11||0||0|