Keselowski wins Chase-opener at Chicagoland
September 16, 2012INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
Joliet, IL (Sports Network) - Brad Keselowski moved atop the point standings for the first time in his Sprint Cup Series career after winning Sunday's first race in the championship Chase at Chicagoland Speedway.
Keselowski overtook Jimmie Johnson for position during the last round of green-flag pit stops in the Geico 400. Johnson started on the pole and dominated most of this race by leading 172 of 267 laps. He pitted from the top position with 38 laps remaining, while Keselowski made his stop on the following lap.
After Keselowski exited the pits, he got up to speed quick enough to advance his position on Johnson. Prior to the stops, he had trailed Johnson by two seconds.
"I don't know what happened to the 48 (Johnson), if he slowed down or I sped up on the last run, I can't tell which one," Keselowski said. "For some reason, we just took off."
Keselowski took the lead for good with 26 laps to go when David Ragan was the last driver to make his stop. Keselowski then beat Johnson to the finish line by 3.17 seconds for his fourth win this season and the eighth of his Sprint Cup career. It was also his first victory in a Chase race.
"We're in victory lane for race one in the Chase," said Keselowski, who is in the postseason for the second straight year. "It feels like round one of a heavyweight title bout. It's good to win it, but there's a lot of rounds left."
The win allowed Keselowski to take a three-point lead over Johnson, who has yet to win a Cup race at this 1.5-mile racetrack.