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Keselowski Conserves Fuel To Win At Dover

Dover
Sean Gardner, Getty Images

To his Sprint Cup Series rivals, Brad Keselowski has the annoying habit of doing what he’s not supposed to do,  as in winning Sunday’s AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway. Saving fuel over the final 79-lap green-flag run, the devil in the Blue Deuce, Detroit’s consummate wheel man, triumphed in what was perhaps the fourth- or fifth- or sixth-best car in the third Chase for the Sprint Cup race.

Keselowski wasn’t supposed to win at Dover, where his career average finish in five previous starts had been 17.0, but he did. Keselowski wasn’t supposed to be leading the series standings three races into the Chase, but he is, by five points over five-time champion Jimmie Johnson, who limped home in fourth place, saving every drop of fuel he could by slowing down and surrendering spots on the track in the closing laps.

The win was supposed to go to Johnson, a seven-time victor at Dover — tied for the track record with Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Bobby Allison. And if not Johnson, then Kyle Busch, who led 302 of 400 laps but had to pit late for fuel.

Ultimately, Keselowski beat hard-charging Jeff Gordon to the finish line by 1.078 seconds to win his series-best fifth race of the season, his second in the Chase, his first at Dover and the ninth of his career. Gordon had topped off his gas tank on Lap 318 and had ample fuel to get to the finish, as did third-place Mark Martin, who rallied from a lap down to challenge Gordon for the runner-up spot.

The win propels Keselowski into the lead of the Chase standings and five-time champion Jimmie Johnson lost his grip on the points lead with a fourth-place finish. The next race is Sunday at Talladega.

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