Brad Keselowski led a race high 231 of 500 laps to win the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday afternoon, battling Daytona 500 winner Matt Kenseth on two restarts to secure his fifth career victory. Keselowski moves to 13th in the Sprint Cup standings with the win as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series moves to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California next Sunday.
Keselowski, driver of the Miller Lite Dodge for Penske Racing, best known this season for adding nearly 200,000 Twitter followers (@keselowski) during the red flag at the Daytona 500, has been inconsistent so far in 2012. Keselsowi battled a serious leg injury last summer in a testing accident to make a run towards the Chase and won at Bristol last August in that run.
Series points leader Greg Biffle put his 3M Ford Fusion on pole and Keselowski’s teammate, A.J. Allmendinger in the Shell/Pennzoil Dodge started on the outside in front of just over 100,000 at the first short track race of the season.
A lap 28 caution for a six-car crash, triggered by Kasey Kahne and Regan Smith, eliminated former Bristol winners Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards and affected Kevin Harvick’s chances to win. Keselowski sustained minor damage in the wreck, but was able to avoid a major problem.
Both Biffle and Allmendinger led early on in the race but Brian Vickers, driving his first race of the season for Mark Martin in the Aaron’s Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR), took over up front and was strong the entire race, leading 125 laps.
Keselowski took the lead just before halfway and battled Kenseth the rest of the way for his second-straight victory at the track, the fourteenth back-to-back winner in track history. Clint Bowyer led an MWR 3-4-5 finish, with New Jersey’s Martin Truex, Jr. finishing fourth and Vickers fifth.
Jeff Burton, Jamie McMurray, Juan Pablo Montoya, Jimmie Johnson and Paul Menard gave Chevy a sweep of the second half of the top ten. Biffle finished 13th and maintained his points lead, now nine over Harvick, who finished 11th. Kenseth is third, 12 points behind with Truex, Jr. in fourth, 18 points back. Phoenix winner Denny Hamlin and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. are tied for fifth, 20 points behind Biffle.