Monday, March 10, 2014

Keselowski Wins Las Vegas 400 as Jr. Runs Out Of Gas

LAS VAGAS, NV – The stars were aligned for Brad Keselowski Sunday who won the Las Vegas Kobalt 400 with a last-lap pass of Dale Earhardt Jr who ran out of gas.  "I think 10, 15 laps, whatever that was, and forced him to kind of get up into his speed line, and that was just taking fuel from his car," Keselowski said. "Once that happened, I knew we were in really good shape. It was going to play out one of two ways: He was going to have to get in fuel conservation mode and I think I could have passed him and drove away, or he was going to have to burn fuel to keep me behind him. At that point it was just a matter of whether a yellow came out or not because it was just a ticking time bomb, and it worked in our favor today."

Despite running out of gas, Jr. was able to hold on to a second place finish, followed by Paul Menard, Joey Logano and Carl Edwards.  "We weren't going to run first or second had we not stayed out on that strategy," said Earnhardt.  "We knew we were a lap short.  We tried to save as much (fuel) as we could.  We got it to about half a lap and it ran out off of (turn) two there.  We took a gamble and didn't win the race, but it still worked in our favor to run second.  It gave us a chance to win.”

The race-deciding move for Keselowski came on lap 156 when during a caution for track debris, stayed out while most drivers pitted.  The move put Brad in the top spot and on a different race-strategy.  Kevin Harvick, who had been running a strong race and appeared to be the best contender for the win, pitted after his front left-front hub locked up, dashing any chance to win. Harvick commented, “the car just kind of lost the handling in the last 15 or 20 laps before we went behind the wall. It started to get really loose, which makes sense with that left-front brake dragging like that.

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