Brad Keselowski and his Team have a Championship Effort at Chicagoland

Brad Keselowski and Paul Wolfe Put Together a Championship Effort at Chicagoland

Brad Keselowski wins the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway the first race of the Challenger Round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Keselowski will automatically move on to the next Round, the Contender Round, in the Chase because of this win.

Kyle Busch led the field to the green flag in the MyAFibStory.com 400.  He led 46 laps and looked to be a factor in the race until green flag pit stops at lap 148 put him back to tenth.

We were superfast early, superfast when the track was green and we were out front and we could run second or third and didn’t have a gaggle of cars around you.”  Busch added, “But anytime I got in aero situations, man it just kills me.  I don’t know what I have to do to get there.  Each restart, the farther back you get there, it hurts you. He was not able to drive back to the front after that but was able to salvage a sixth place finish.

Brad Keselowski started the race 25th due to the rain out of qualifying. They worked on the car during the two practices Saturday and got it better but when the race started it just took off.  By lap 64 he made it up to tenth and during the caution on lap 66 they took two tires to get to fifth.

Another caution flag and round of pit stops on lap 98 and Brad Keselowski was in second. He was able to take the lead from there only to have potential disaster strike during another pit stop under caution for debris on lap 181.

The rear tire changer stood up and informed crew chief Paul Wolfe that he felt he didn’t get a lug nut tight leaving the potential for a loose wheel. Wolfe calmly called Keselowski back to pit road under caution opting not to risk disaster.

We had the issue on pit road.  Got us a little bit behind.  But it was good that the issue we had, we came down and fixed it before we went back green.  The changer felt like he didn’t get ‘em tight.” Wolfe added, “I think that was key, that he stood up and said, I feel like we’re going to have a loose wheel here.  To come in and fix that under yellow was much less of a penalty than if we got going green and had a vibration.  That was key there to being able to overcome that loose wheel. From there, we saw we had pretty good speed in our car all day.

The No. 2 Miller Lite Ford was so fast that Keselowski was able to not only recover but drive back to the top five. There was another caution on lap 244. Keselowski restarted fourth behind Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon the other cars that were the class of the field. Keselowski was able to pass Gordon but wasn’t able to catch Larson and Harvick.

Larson and Harvick were battling side by side for several laps allowing Keselowski to drive up to them. Keselowski made the most impossible looking move by driving right between them to the lead. He then survived a late restart to win the race.

Keselowski said, “We were able to take advantage with that on the restarts, get up to third. I just saw a hole and I went for it.  The 4 and the 42 were racing really hard, doing all the things they needed to do.  It just opened a hole.  I didn’t know if my car would stick or not, but I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t try it.  I tried it, it did.  That got us into the lead. Even that was going to be close.  I think the 42 was quite a bit faster as the long run went.  We got that yellow.  Things evened out.  We were able to take advantage from there.

Brad Keselowski, Paul Wolfe and the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford team showed the type of effort that it will take to win a Championship. They let the whole garage know they mean business and that it is no gimmick. To keep their heads and stay on their game in spite of potential problems is what it takes.

Roger Penske explained how important the team effort was best. “Today, as Paul said, the real winner today is the young man that changes the rear tire, put his hand up and said, Hey, I screwed up, the wheel might be loose.  Paul had the guts to say on the radio, We’re not going to go out and run to find out, we’re coming in now.

Jeff Gordon was second followed by Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, and Kevin Harvick. Kyle Larson was the highest finishing rookie.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 301568 Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR

Kyle Busch Comes From Behind to Win the Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland

Kyle Busch Comes From Behind to Win the Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland

Kyle Busch won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland Speedway.

Johnny Sauter led the field to the green flag in Lucas Oil 225. He led the first 23 laps then faded the rest of the race eventually to get trapped a lap down by a speeding penalty.

Due Kyle Busch’s media responsibilities for the Chase for the Sprint Cup on Thursday Erik Jones practiced the No. 51 Dollar General Truck. In spite of the seventh place starting position due to Jones’s efforts, Busch had to start the race from the rear of the field.

Earlier in the day Kyle Busch was dominating the NASCAR Nationwide Series Race only to be beat by pit strategy. Instead of starting the race disappointed he got some help from his Crew Chief Eric Phillips.

This guy (Eric Phillips) came over and rubbed on me a little bit gave me some encouraging words.” Busch added, “It’s nice to have a support system like that around you when you have frustration times and sort of straighten your mind out right.

Kyle Busch was the class of the field in spite of starting in the rear he was up to seventh place by lap 10. When the competition caution came out on lap 30 Busch was running fourth only to get a pit road speeding penalty and have to do it all over again passing 59 trucks in the process.

Busch said, “Well early on, I was patient with it, just trying to get everyone acclimated to not being on the track at all yesterday from practice day.  Me, for sure, I was getting acclimated, too.  I knew we had a good truck.  I was just trying to pace myself there early.  I knew what I had and when I had that pit road penalty and got stuck behind then I could try to charge back through harder.  The truck was good and got back to the front there.

Matt Crafton was second followed by Austin Dillon, Tyler Reddick and Jeb Burton.

Tyler Reddick in the No. 19 Harper/Ace Hardware Ford is the highest finishing rookie with his best finish to date of fourth. He will be running full time next year for Brad Keselowski Racing.

Matt Crafton took over the lead from previous point’s leader Johnny Sauter who finished fourteenth by five points.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 301549 Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images

 

Kevin Harvick uses Strategy to Win the Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland

Kevin Harvick uses Strategy to Win the Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland

Kevin Harvick won the NASCAR Nationwide Series Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland Speedway by better pit strategy than Kyle Busch.

Brian Scott won the Coors Light Pole Award and led the field to the green flag in Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast 300 Powered by Coca-Cola. He only led the first five laps then it became the Kyle Busch show.

From the fifth lap until lap 154 of 200 Kyle Busch controlled the race only giving up the lead during pit stops. Each and every restart he held off the challengers including Kevin Harvick from taking the lead.

On lap 153 the number 51 of Jeremy Clements lost an engine and put oil down on the track. Everyone pitted for tires and fuel. Busch’s team opted for four tires while some cars stayed out and other took two tires. Busch found himself sixteenth at the restart on lap 159.

The rest of the field battled on the restart with Kevin Harvick driver of the No. 5 Jimmy John’s car prevailed two laps later and never lost the lead.

On lap 166 Kyle Busch’s teammate, Denny Hamlin lost an engine and put down lots of oil on the track. Busch had already driver up to eighth and appeared to be on his way to taking back the race that would most surely be his to win. It didn’t happen. Busch lead 141 laps of 200.

The race restarted on lap 173 with Kevin Harvick staying out. Kyle Busch drove his No. 54 car hard up to third place but could not pass Kyle Larson in the No. 42 when he finally got to him.

Harvick said, “This Guy (Ernie Cope No. 5 Crew Chief) is the one who won the race today. He made a great call with two tires and the 54 got buried in the field and it felt like at that particular point it was our race to lose and our car ran faster on two tires than it did on four. Just really excited and I feel like I learned a lot today just looking forward to tomorrow as well.

Kyle Larson was second followed by Kyle Bush, Ryan Blaney and Trevor Bayne.

The highest finishing rookie was Ty Dillon. Chase Elliott finished tenth and retains the series points lead over Regan Smith by 18 points.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit:  301538 Nick Laham/Getty Images

Brian Scott will Start first for the Nationwide Race at Chicagoland

Brian Scott won the Coors Light Pole Award at Chicagoland Speedway

Brian Scott was the fastest in qualifying and will lead the field to green Saturday September 13th in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast 300 Powered by Coca-Cola at Chicagoland Speedway.

The Nationwide series had only one practice on Friday due to the weather. Brian Scott wasn’t the fastest in practice but was the fourth fastest with a speed of 177.206 MPH. His team was able to adjust on the car and improve on that greatly. Scott was able to put down a lap of 181.409 MPH in order to capture the Coors Light Pole Award.

In the first round of qualifying, Ty Dillon No. 3, Kevin Harvick No. 5, Denny Hamlin No. 20 and Kyle Busch No 54 were late in getting through technical inspection. All except Hamlin were able to lay down fast laps and make it to the last round in qualifying. Denny Hamlin ended up qualifying 20th in the second Round.

In the first round Scott drove the No. 2 RCR Shore Lodge Chevrolet to ninth at 178.483 MPH. He improved in the second round to third at 181.305 MPH saving his best for the Round. This was Scott’s fifth pole in 168 NASCAR Nationwide Series Starts and his third at the Chicagoland Speedway.

The rest of the top five are Ryan Blaney No 22, Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott No 9 and Kyle Larson No 42. Chase Elliott, the current series point’s leader was the highest qualifying rookie.

Carl Long, Mike Harmon, and Morgan Shepard did not qualify and will not race.

If you cannot get to Chicagoland Speedway for the Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast 300, it will be broadcast on ESPN2 starting at 3:30PM ET.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit:  Emmett Bird

NASCAR Driver Kyle Busch will start the First Race of the Challenger Round Up Front

Kyle Busch will start the MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Up Front

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway is Sunday, September 14th. Kyle Busch will start the race at the pole putting himself and his team in a great position to start the Challenger Round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

The Sprint Cup Series had one practice at Chicagoland Speedway before qualifying for MyAFibStory.com 400. A few hours after practice rain came to the speedway washing out Camping World Truck Series Qualifying and the last Nationwide Series practice. Unfortunately it stuck around to wash out Cup Qualifying. The starting order will be set by the NASCAR Rule Book.

Kyle Busch led the first and only Sprint Cup Series practice with a speed of 191.442. He beat Ryan Newman by six hundredths of a second. They will share the front row for Sunday’s race. Carl Edwards will start right behind them. All three of them are starting in a great position for the first race in the Challenger Round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Most of the top teams spent practice in qualifying trim expecting rain to wash out qualifying. Though Kyle Bush didn’t specifically state it, it appears that he did. They all wanted to start up front but more importantly get the best pit stalls in order to make their race the best it can be.

Busch said, “Having a good time there in practice means a lot, but there’s obviously a lot of things that need to happen in the race this weekend for us and getting off to a good start and being able to carry that into the next 10 weeks.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will start fourth followed by Matt Kenseth, Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Paul Menard and Kyle Larson. Larson is the highest qualifying rookie.

There will be two practices on Saturday in much different conditions today so the drivers and teams will have ample time to adjust their cars from the qualifying set up of today.

If you cannot get to the Chicagoland Speedway for the MyAFibStory.com 400 it will be broadcast on ESPN, on Sunday September 14th starting at 1 PM ET.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 301507 Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images

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