Brad Keselowski, the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, finally has picked up his first career win in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series after taking the checkered flag in the UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Thursday morning. It was Keselowski's 62nd career Truck Series start.
He was able to hold off Darrell Wallace Jr in the final laps to bring his own Brad Keselowski Racing No. 19 Ford to victory lane after leading 119 of the 200 laps. In doing so he became the 25th driver to win in all three of NASCAR's national series.
"It means a lot as a driver, I don't want to understate that," Keselowski said in victory lane. "My family has been a part of this series since the inception and I feel like I have too whether it was just as a kid watching or now as a team owner and driver."
Brad joins his father Bob as a winner in the Truck Series. Bob Keselowski went to victory lane at Richmond back in 1997. Brad made his Truck Series debut back in 2004. Keselowski also beat Kyle Busch head-to-head for the win which was a big deal since Busch had picked up 12 wins in the 24 previous head-to-head races.
After being postponed from Wednesday night due to rain the UNOH 200 got underway with sunshine shining down Thursday morning and Kyle Busch started from the pole. Brad Keselowski took advantage of lap traffic on lap 13 to take the lead from Busch.
The first caution then flew on lap 16 when Bryan Silas pinched Jake Crum low on the track as Crum was attempting a pass. The two trucks made contact and backed into the outside wall. Timothy Peters did not have anywhere to go and also ran into Crum's truck and did damage to the front end of his No. 17 Red Horse Racing Toyota. Silas finished 32nd and Crum 33rd in the 36 truck field.
The race restarted on lap 23 and Keselowski continued to lead with Busch in tow. At lap 40 Ben Kennedy reported that he was having break issues on his Turner Scott Motorsports truck. The competition caution flew on lap 50 with the top five Keselowski, Busch, Ron Hornaday Jr, Darrell Wallace Jr, and Cole Custer. Kyle Busch's pit crew did the job and got Busch the lead after pit stops with Keselowski in second for the lap 58 restart.
Keselowski was able to get the lead on the low side on lap 59 but Busch fought back in the high line and retook the lead on lap 61. By the halfway lap of 100 Busch led over Keselowski, Hornaday, Wallace, and Matt Crafton.
The third caution flew on lap 111 when Jody Knowles had an engine expire. Teams took the opportunity to pit and Busch held the lead over Keselowski and the race restarted on lap 119. Busch got high in Turns 3 and 4 on lap 125 which allowed Keselowski to slip past into the lead.
The fourth caution then flew on lap 145 when John Wes Townley got loose off of Turn 2 and got up into Gray Gaulding and Brennan Newberry. Then on the backstretch Gaulding was trying to catch his truck from the contact and got into the side of Townley which then sent Townley down the track where he collected Brandon Jones and Justin Boston before hitting the inside wall hard and then going back across the track and hitting the outside wall in Turn 3. All the trucks except for Townley and Boston were able to continue. Townley finished 29th and Boston 30th.
The race restarted on lap 153 and Darrell Wallace Jr was able to get into second past Kyle Busch. On lap 175 Busch had a right-rear tire go down and he got into the outside wall. Busch would lose several laps and finish 24th. On lap 180 Gray Gaulding also had a tire go down and had to pit. He finished 23rd. The caution did not come out for either moment.
With three laps to go Keselowski got in lap traffic and Wallace got to his bumper but was unable to make the pass for the win.
Ron Hornaday Jr finished third, Matt Crafton fourth, Johnny Sauter fifth, John Hunter Nemechek sixth, Joey Coulter seventh, Cole Custer eighth, Ben Rhodes ninth, and Corey LaJoie tenth. Jeb Burton was 11th, Spencer Gallagher 12th, Ryan Blaney 13th, German Quiroga 14th, and Caleb Holman 15th. Justin Jennings was 16th, Brennan Newberry 17th, Tyler Young 18th, Jimmy Weller 19th, and Brandon Jones 20th. Ben Kennedy finished 21st, Mason Mingus 22nd, and Timothy Peters 25th.
Johnny Sauter holds a eight point lead over his ThorSport Racing teammate Matt Crafton. Ron Hornaday Jr is 17 points back in third, Ryan Blaney is 24 points back in fourth, and Darrell Wallace Jr is 33 points back in fifth. German Quiroga is sixth, Joey Coulter seventh, Timothy Peters eighth, Ben Kennedy ninth, and Jeb Burton tenth.
The next race will be August 31st for the Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
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