Keselowski Dominates In New Hampshire Victory
Brad Keselowski used a broom to sweep away a mess and wanted a pot for his victory lobster.
But for his first piece of housekeeping, all he needed was a fast car.
Keselowski completed a flawless weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and won Sunday under a green-white checkered finish. Keselowski followed up Saturday’s Nationwide Series victory with his first Sprint Cup win at New Hampshire, dominating in the No. 2 Ford for his third victory of the season.
The 2012 Sprint Cup champion is now tied with Jimmie Johnson for the series lead in wins.
“This was just such a phenomenal weekend and these don’t happen that often,” he said.
Keselowski had been in a slump with, of all things, his Victory Lane fun.
He needed four stitches to close a wound he received during his Victory Lane celebration in the Sprint Cup race at Kentucky. He tried to open the bottle of champagne by hitting it against a podium, and the bottle broke and cut his hand.
Keselowski dropped the American flag out of his No. 22 Ford on Saturday and it was retrieved by an official to let the frivolity continue.
He joked he brought Kevlar-reinforced gloves that were touted as cut-proof.
Good thing. The New Hampshire winner traditionally receives a live lobster in Victory Lane. He also grabbed an oversized broom to give a playful sweep of all the confetti already collected around his Ford.
“Apparently, I’ve got to win more and I’ll get better at it,” he said. “I think everybody got to hold the lobster. We’re looking forward to eating the lobster later this week. I hear they’re going to overnight the meat.”
He’ll get a taste of Loudon the Lobster – yes, that’s its name – a 20-pounder caught off the coast of New Bedford, Massachusetts.
Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt Jr. clinched spots in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, provided they attempt to qualify for the final seven races before the cutoff.
Pole sitter Kyle Busch was second. Kyle Larson, Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman completed the top five.
Keselowski led 138 of 305 laps (four more than the scheduled 301) and helped Ford to its fourth straight win.
Clint Bowyer, Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounded out the top 10.
Here are five things to know from Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire:
SENIOR MOMENT: Morgan Shepherd’s senior status has become an age-old problem in NASCAR. Just how much longer can the 72-year-old driver race? Considerably older and slower than any driver on the track, the 72-year-old Shepherd took out contender Joey Logano in the second half the race. Shepherd’s No. 33 Chevrolet was about 15 laps off the pace when he connected with Logano. Logano was running second with less than 100 laps left when he got tangled up with Shepherd and they crashed. Logano was forced to the garage. Shepherd completed 278 of the 305 laps and was 39th.
TIRE WOES: Jimmie Johnson’s tire woes flattened his race at New Hampshire. He hit pit road only a few laps into the race with a left rear flat. The new tire didn’t help. It blew and the No. 48 slammed into the fence, ending the six-time NASCAR champion’s race only 15 laps into Sunday’s race. Johnson, who qualified second, said the tire “just exploded.” Goodyear said the tires weren’t the problem. “The tires failed in a manner consistent of low inflation pressure,” Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s director of racing, said.
LAST CALL: Veteran Jeff Burton’s career may finally be over. Burton finished 20th Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in just his second start of the season in the No. 66 Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing. With no other races lined up, Burton, who made his Cup debut in 1993, could have crossed the finish line for the final time. He’s already made the transition to the broadcast booth and is part of the “NASCAR America” panel on the NBC Sports Network. New Hampshire general manager Jerry Gappens presented Burton with a plaque during driver introductions. The plaque was in the shape of New Hampshire and addressed to, “Jeff Burton, The Mayor.” It marked some of his New Hampshire milestones and recognized his 21 career Sprint Cup wins.
CODE WORDS: How many tires did Brad Keselowski need on each pit stop? Hard to know for sure before he pulled in. Might as well crack a cold one open while trying to crack the code. Keselowski and crew chief Paul Wolfe use only beer branded words over the radio to discuss strategy. How words do they use? Keselowski said, “enough.” Team owner Roger Penske chimed in, “A six-pack.”
JUNIOR SPOT: With two wins already, Dale Earnhardt Jr. earned a spot in the Chase with his 10th-place finish. “With 10th place I’m really disappointed, but I remember when we used to like these,” he said.
Updated July 14, 2014