Roger Penske had never had a win in the a NASCAR series at Indianapolis Motor Speeday, and when it came to the NASCAR Nationwide Series, no team had ever won a race at the Brickyard.
Both of those changed on Saturday when Brad Keselowski crossed the line first to take the Indy 250 win.
“Any victory here at Indianapolis is special,” Keselowski said.
It came down to a final restart that caused Keselowski to get the victory, but when the restart happened, it wasn’t Keselowski that lead the field to the green.
He may have held back on the restart, or he may have spun his tires, either way, when the Nationwide series cars took to turn one on the final restart, it was Elliott Sadler that was leading, and pulling away from the field.
As the laps clicked down and Sadler used the clean air to his advantage, it looked like Sadler would have to make a mistake to lose the race.
The thing is, in the eyes of NASCAR, Sadler already made that mistake.
Since Sadler beat Keselowski to the line in the restart box, claiming that he was pushed from behind from his teammate, Austin Dillon, and that Keselowski spun his tires, there was no way that Sadler was going to serve the black flag pass-through pit road penalty without a fight.
Luke Lambert, Sadler’s crew chief, made the arguments, but NASCAR didn’t listen to them. With 13 laps to go, a disgruntled Sadler pulled off the track and made his dreadfully slow way down pit road, as Keselowski streaked by to take the lead, the final lead change of the day.
“NASCAR just taking the championship right from me,” Sadler said on the radio as he pulled down pit-road to serve his penalty.
After the race, Dillon who was pushing Sadler, said that on the restart there isn’t really much you can do, but gain positions.
“I just went when the green was out,” Dillon said. “You can pass on the restart.”
After Sadler pulled off the track the only thing that was keeping Keselowski from becoming the first ever Nationwide Series winner at Indianapolis was his teammate, Sam Hornish Jr., who was trying to chase down Keselowski.
It turned out that Keselowski was just too fast for Hornish Jr. to catch.
“If I seem disappointed, it’s because you won’t get a chance to win the inaugural race again,” Hornish Jr. said after the race.
Keselowski had hung around the top-five for much of the day, but he admits that he wasn’t the car to beat all day.
“Trying to beat Kyle Busch was going to be tough,” Keselowski said after the race.
Kyle Busch led over half the race, but after taking four tires on a late race pit-stop he had to try and make his way back to the lead. However he got sideways and spun off of turn one. He would lose a lap and finish in 22nd position.
This win was special for Keselowski.
“I’ve been watching races here for a long time,” Keselowski said to ESPN crews after the race. “Being a kid from Michigan everyone knows how special Indy is. This is also the 100th NASCAR win for Roger Penske.”
Rounding out the top-five today were Ty Dillon in third, Denny Hamlin in fourth and Austin Dillon in fifth.
Sadler kept his points lead, but it dwindled down to one point after the race.
Next week the series will be in Iowa for the second race at Iowa Speedway in Newton.
Indy 250 results:
- Brad Keselowski
- Sam Hornish Jr.
- Ty Dillon
- Denny Hamlin
- Austin Dillon
- Michael Annett
- Joey Logano
- Paul Menard
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
- Jeremy Clements
- Mike Bliss
- Justin Allgaier
- Travis Pastrana
- Brian Scott
- Elliott Sadler
- Jason Bowles
- Cole Whitt
- Joe Nemechek
- Kenny Wallace
- Mike Wallace
- Jeffery Earnhardt
- Kyle Busch
- Timmy Hill
- Eric McClure
- Kasey Kahne
- James Buescher
- Ryan Blaney
- Tim Schendel
- Tayler Malsam
- Johanna Long
- Robert Richardson Jr.
- Kyle Fowler
- Reed Sorenson
- Kurt Busch
- Danica Patrick
- Jeff Green
- Scott Riggs
- Erik Darnell
- T.J. Bell
- Kevin Lepage
- Chase Miller
- Josh Wise
- Stephen Leicht