NASCAR Nationwide Series at Las Vegas: Brad Keselowski holds off Kyle Busch

jutter@charlotteobserver.comMarch 8, 2014 

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Brad Keselowski celebrates with a burnout after winning Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

JARED C. TILTON — Getty Images

— This is not the way you want to save on your electric light bill.

Not only did Brad Keselowski need to spend the final laps of Saturday’s Boyd Gaming 300 fending off Kyle Busch for the victory, but he had to do so while nursing a bad battery in his No. 22 Ford.

Keselowski made the 200-lap distance at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with just enough juice to secure his first NASCAR Nationwide Series win of the season and 28th of his career.

“We found every way we could to make it hard,” said Keselowski, who also overshot his pit stall midway through the race. “When they dropped the green (flag), this was just an amazing car.

“I think Kyle and I were pretty equal. These races aren’t getting any easier to win. I drove as hard as I could every lap. I knew Kyle was coming and it was a matter of time before he caught me.”

Busch seemed in good position to win when he restarted in the lead on Lap 163, but he had difficulty coming up to speed on the green flag. Keselowski bolted into the lead, and Busch dropped back several positions.

Busch eventually made his way back to second. He made up considerable ground on in the closing laps as Keselowski’s battery problems increased, but ran out of time.

“I don’t know what caused us to lose the lead. The car was just slow – it wouldn’t take off,” Busch said. “He got by me and we fell to third.

“Our car was super-fast on the long runs and when guys would get their tires hot, they used up everything they had. Brad was really good, but that’s all we had.”

Busch also had difficulties of his own to overcome. He cut a tire and wrecked in practice on Friday and had to use a backup car. His team discovered a faulty alternator belt that required changing before the race, putting him at the rear of the field on the race start.

Kyle Larson finished third, Dale Earnhardt Jr. fourth and Chase Elliott fifth.

Regan Smith, who finished 10th, leads the series standings, with a three-point advantage over Trevor Bayne. Elliott Sadler is third, nine points behind the leader.

Long after the race, NASCAR announced Elliott’s No. 9 Chevrolet was too-low on the left-front. Also NASCAR confiscated the right-rear shock from Keselowski’s No. 22 Ford and will further examine it at its research and development facility in Concord. Any penalties assessed will be announced early next week.

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