SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

November 17, 2012

Keselowski wins Sprint Cup title

(Continued)

Keselowski needed 125 starts to win his first championship, the fewest starts since four-time champion Jeff Gordon won his first title in 93 starts in 1995. Keselowski also won a second-tier Nationwide title in 2010, his first season with Penske and the owner’s first official NASCAR championship.

Gordon, who avoided suspension this week but was fined $100,000 by NASCAR for intentionally wrecking Clint Bowyer last week at Phoenix, overcame the controversy to win the race in a 20th anniversary celebration for sponsor Dupont and Hendrick Motorsports.

It was Gordon’s first victory at Homestead, which leaves Kentucky as the only active NASCAR track where he’s yet to win.

Who did Gordon beat? Bowyer, of course.

And Bowyer’s second-place finish moved him to a career-best second in the final standings. Third-place went to Ryan Newman, who got his break in NASCAR with Penske and spent seven seasons driving for the owner.

“He deserves this probably as much as anybody else, if not more because of what he’s done for motor racing in general, NASCAR, his dedication to all forms of race cars is probably more than anybody else in the history of auto racing,” Newman said. “I know this is probably one of the sweetest moments in his racing career.”

Keselowski started the race up 20 points on Johnson, who blew a tire and crashed last week at Phoenix to give Keselowski a nice cushion and needing only to finish 15th or higher in the finale to wrap up his first championship. But the Penske team took nothing for granted — not after Will Power crashed in the IndyCar finale to blow a 17-point lead and lose the championship.

And this one got tight, too, especially when Keselowski ran out of gas on pit road during green flag pit stops. It put him a lap down with Johnson leading, and Keselowski and crew chief Paul Wolfe frantically tried to figure out how dire the situation had become.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports

Sports Special
Sports podcasts
Northeast Sports
Comments Tracker
Facebook
Sports Special