Keselowski Conquers Salem Short Track
Second Generation ARCA Driver Wins on the High Banks
Keselowski (#29) stays ahead of the pack at Salem. (ARCA Photos)
Second-generation ARCA RE/MAX Series driver Brian Keselowski used race strategy, patience and one pit stop on his way to winning the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 presented by Federated Auto Parts Sunday afternoon at Salem Speedway.
Keselowski, in the #29 Holloway-Dusty's Collision Dodge, took the lead from Dexter Bean on lap 87 and never relinquished it en route to earning his second career ARCA RE/MAX Series victory in his 24th series attempt.
"Our strategy at the start of the race was to pit twice, but there were so many cautions, we only needed to pit once," said Keselowski.
"The car was junk at the start, way too loose but we lowered the track bar on our stop, took some stagger out and gassed it up. We really only tightened it up enough to get by because we thought for sure we'd be coming back down pit road, but the race didn't play out that way. I'm just glad to bring it home in one piece; that in itself is hard to do at Salem. Now we can go to another race."
By virtue of the win, Keselowski joins his father Bob Keselowski (1987 winner) in the Salem win column becoming the only father/son ARCA RE/MAX Series winners at the historical southern-Indiana short-track.
In addition to Keselowski's one-stop strategy, his patience went a long way too as the Rochester Hills, Michigan racer dodged several bullets throughout the typical 200-lap Salem slugfest. In all, 11 cautions for 81 laps kept safety crews on their toes most of the way through. Despite several badly wrinkled racecars, there were no injuries.
Bean got underneath Keselowski on a late-race restart inside of 20 laps to go, but in the end, Keselowski pulled away by 10 lengths as the leaders crossed under the checkered flag.
Bean, who led 30 laps in the Five Star Telecom Chevrolet, finished second, a career-best for the Westby, Wisconsin driver.
"Brian (Keselowski) was a little better on longer runs," said Bean. "We could race with him on the restarts, but on long runs we just couldn't stay with him. I'm really proud of all my guys; this is a great day for our team. We just need to keep the momentum going and we'll win one of these one day soon."
Michael McDowell, who earned his career-first RE/MAX Series pole award on Saturday, led the first 56 laps before eventually settling for a career-best third in Eddie Sharp's Z Line-Make A Wish-Beck Dodge. McDowell was also credited with the Highest Finishing Rookie honors and the Accel Fastest Lap of the Race award.
"Hey, we'll take it," said McDowell. "We've been fast everywhere this year, but we've had a lot of bad luck, and we just weren't getting the finishes this team is capable of. Today, we finally got that finish. We're on a role; this was a good points day for us. This'll give us the momentum we need headed to Kansas."
Owensboro, Kentucky driver Brett Hudson, in the Hudson Machine Chevrolet, fought off a hard late-race charge from Ken Schrader to earn the fourth finishing position.
Schrader, in his own Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet, fresh from the NASCAR Cup race the night before in Phoenix, finished fifth. Schrader, unable to qualify the car on Saturday - Mario Gosselin subbed - had to start from the tail-end as a result.
Seventeen-year-old James Buescher finished sixth in the Country Joe Racing-Mercedes Homes-Red Line Oil Dodge in front of Phillip McGilton, who finished seventh in the Brewco Motorsports-SI Performance Ford.
McCumbee gives a big thumbs up in victory lane.
Bryan Silas, who started 27th in Andy Hillenburg's Nortrax-Holland Pump Chevrolet, finished eighth earning the Hoosier Tire Hard Charger Award.
Billy Venturini was ninth in the Texas Corral Grill & Saloon Chevrolet with Justin Allgaier, in the Hoosier Midwest-Auto Xpress-USAF Chevrolet, trailing in 10th.
The ARCA RE/MAX Series travels next to Kansas Speedway on Friday, April 27th for the Kansas Lottery $150 Grand LIVE on SPEED at 5:00 pm Eastern.
Keselowski enjoys his race victory.