Indianapolis Motor Speedway kicked of its inaugural NASCAR Nationwide Series race today with stories and drama galore! Three jumped restarts, only one of which resulted in a penalty; Danica Patrick’s return to the Brickyard resulted in a wrecked car; the Dillon brothers finishing in the top 5 with Ty beating out brother Austin; Michael Annett wins the $100,000 Dash for Cash; and Brad Keselowski wins the race after Elliott Sadler is black flagged with 10 laps to go.
Kasey Kahne started on the pole and was jumped on the start by Kyle Busch but never penalized. Kyle Busch led 3 times for 51 laps. Kyle was running in the top 5 on lap 80 when he spun in front of the field and lost a ton of track position. Kyle would go on to finish 22nd.
On lap 40 of the 100 lap event, Danica Patrick got into the #98 of Reed Sorenson causing the two to get together and end Danica’s day. Danica finished 35th and Reed Sorenson finished in 33rd. “I just tapped him a little bit, and when I did, he slid sideways. I tried to go around him and didn’t quite get by him and spun around, and unfortunately that was it. I am sorry if I did anything to affect his day, but I didn’t mean to” Danica said after the accident.
On a lap 82 restart Elliott Sadler was running in 2nd place behind Brad Keselowski. Elliott was being pushed by Austin Dillon, and in-car cameras made it sound as if Keselowski spun his tires. The result was a black flag for Elliott Sadler with 11 laps to go in the race. The black flag cost Sadler, in the #2 OneMain Financial Chevrolet, a shot at the win and a $100,000 bonus in the Dash for Cash. Sadler, who finished in 15th, tweeted after the race, “After meeting with NASCAR.. They said I DIDNT JUMP START but seems to be my fault the 22 spun his tires… I’m devastated”. Michael Annett, in the #43 Pilot Ford, finished ahead of Sadler and claimed the $100,000 Dash for Cash from Nationwide Insurance. “This is awesome. This is the Brickyard. We aren’t kissing any bricks today but we have a big cardboard check that we can lay our lips on” said Annett.
Brad Keselowski, in the #2 Discount Tire Dodge, gave team owner Roger Penske his first stock car victory at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and 100th NASCAR win. Brad Keselowski said, “I’ve been watching races here since I was a kid in Michigan. Everybody knows how special Indy is and any win that you can have here, whether it’s the Indy 500 or the Brickyard here tomorrow, the first Nationwide race, every race is special.” When asked about the final restart and black flag for Sadler, Keselowski said, “I can tell you my perception of it was I got a push from Sam (Hornish), and it was a little more that I could take, and certainly I wasn’t going full throttle but I was not in the zone when Elliott took off. It appeared that Elliott got a push from behind, as well, and maybe he just couldn’t slow down, I don’t know. I don’t know how it all played out.”
Sam Hornish Jr., also driving for Roger Penske in the #12 Alliance Truck Parts Dodge, finished in 2nd place and led 7 laps during the race. Ty Dillon, driving the #51Wesco Chevrolet, finished 3rd beating brother Austin, who finished in 5th, by two spots. Denny Hamlin finished in 4th place. The rest of the top 10 were Michael Annett in 6th, Joey Logano 7th, Paul Menard 8th, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 9th, and Jeremy Clements finished 10th.
The race had 9 lead changes among 6 drivers, 5 cautions for 24 laps, and margin of victory or 3.304 seconds. Elliott Sadler now leads Austin Dillon by just 1 point in the driver standings after 19 races.
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