By Dave Grayson
Brad Keselowski, the only NASCAR Sprint Cup visitor in the field, led the final 35 laps to win the August 3d U.S. Celluar 250, presented by the Enlist Weed Control System, NASCAR Nationwide Series race at the Iowa Speedway.
The event marked Keselowski’s third series win of the year, his 23d career win, second Nationwide Series win at Iowa and his third series wi…n in a row as a part time visitor.
However, the drive to the Iowa victory lane was not an easy one. It began with a 1000 mile airplane flight from Pocono, PA, where the Sprint Cup Series raced the following day. However, when he landed in Iowa, Keselowski received the good news that said his self owned NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team, with driver Ryan Blaney, won the Pocono event.
During the Iowa race itself, Keselowski lost a ton of track position, during a yellow flag pit stop, when an errant tire rolled outside of the pit box resulting in a time consuming penalty.
Later in the event Keselowski lost massive track position again following a lengthy pit stop to address a serious overheating condition. In both cases, a very powerful Penske Racing Ford Mustang charged its way back to the front.
Keselowski’s margin of victory was a mere 0.536 seconds over runner up Sam Hornish Jr who gave Penske Racing a one-two finish. Brian Vickers followed them under in checkers in third while Austin Dillon and Kyle Larson completed the top five.
Austin Dillon was the class act of the field and led a race high 116 laps. At one point Dillon held a seven second lead only to see it unravel when Travis Pastrana crashed on lap 200. Making his final pit stop, Dillon’s Richard Childress Racing team opted to make a four tire stop when the majority of the leaders took only two tires. The move cost Dillon some track position that hindered him reclaiming the race lead.
However, Dillon did leave Iowa with a 14 point advantage, in the championship standings, over Regan Smith and Sam Hornish Jr who are tied for second. Elliott Sadler holds down fourth at minus 19 while Brian Vickers is fifth at minus 28.
During the final two laps of this race, some more heat raising debris was seen on Keselowski’s front grill. This debris was green in color and somewhat resembled money stuck to the front of the car. It turned out this debris was not a cash bonus for the winning driver, but he did collect $73,740 in prize money.