SPARTA, Ky. — Brad Keselowski became the first three-time winner at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday night, overtaking Kevin Harvick on lap 201 and holding on for the Sprint Cup Series victory.
Matt Kenseth grabbed the lead with six laps remaining but soon pitted for fuel to hand the top spot back to Keselowski, who had just enough gas in reserve to edge Carl Edwards by .175 seconds in a tense finish for the 400-mile race. Keselowski’s tank eventually ran dry and he needed a tow truck to get to victory lane.
Ryan Newman was third, followed by Kurt Busch and then Tony Stewart in fifth in his final Kentucky race. The three-time series champion is retiring after this season.
Keselowski led 75 laps on his way to his second straight win and series-best fourth of the season. His latest triumph on the 1.5 mile tri-oval might have been his most impressive in terms of strategy.
The Penske Racing driver pitted just four times and made the most of his gas tank down to the last drop, withstanding one last charge from Edwards.
Keselowski clearly got a lot from his tires and setup, both of which were important on the resurfaced and reconfigured track featuring higher banking in turns and 1 and 2. He lamented the smoothing of front-stretch bumps he said added character to Kentucky, but quickly adapted to the improvements and new NASCAR rules that reduced downforce and sideforce.
Harvick, the pole-sitter, led for a race-high 128 laps and finished ninth.
Keselowski guided his Ford past Harvick’s Chevy on lap 201 after the race record-tying 11th caution. The race then stayed green to the end.
Accidents were the story early on. Some notable names were collected, including Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano and rookie Chase Elliott.
Chase Briscoe won the ARCA series race Saturday at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa, for his second victory in a row.
Briscoe held onto the top spot following a pair of restarts and went on to win by nearly three seconds.
Pole-sitter Kyle Benjamin was second, followed by Harrison Burton, Dalton Sargeant and Myatt Snider.
Kyle Weatherman was leading 88 laps in when his car got loose and slammed into the wall. Briscoe surged ahead and hung on for his second career win both coming in the past two weeks.
Weatherman finished ninth.
Matt Hagan drove to the Funny Car qualifying lead on Saturday at the K&N Filters Route 66 NHRA Nationals.
Hagan recorded a track record time of 3.882 seconds at 331.12 mph in his Dodge Charger R/T. It’s his second top qualifying performance of the season.
Brittany Force (Top Fuel), Shane Gray (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were the top qualifiers for their classes.
Hagan beat out teammate Jack Beckman for the top spot. Beckman momentarily held the top position following a run of 3.885 at a track record speed of 333.25 in his Dodge Charger.