Imagine driving in a 267 lap race and not even know you're in the lead until you look over at the leaderboard and seeing your name at the top with two laps to go.
This is exactly what happened to 27 year old, Dodge-sponsored NASCAR Sprint Racer, Brad Keselowski, at last Sunday's, Sprint Cup STP 400 at Kansas Speedway. Keselowski took first place at the Sprint Cup after leading for the final 9 laps and not even knowing he was in the lead until the last two laps.
“I was instantly mad at my guys for not telling me, but you get over that pretty quick when you cross the start/finish line first,” said Keselowski about his team not telling him he was in the lead. It might have been a good call on the team's part though because Keselowski admitted when he saw his name as the leader on the board he instantly started shaking.
Not shaken enough to lose his lead though, Keselowski broke his 61- race winless streak in front of a crowd of 80,000 people, earning him his second Sprint Cup victory.
The race's outcome could have turned out differently though, had Keselowski been forced to stop for fuel near the end. Keselowski's crew chief, Paul Wolfe, made the executive decision on lap 210 to keep Brad on the track and hope that he had enough of the E15 fuel to finish out the remaining 57 laps without having to make a pit stop. In an exemplary display of driving and fuel conservation by the young racer, Keselowski managed to keep his car off pit road, saying, “There are some secrets to it and I just maximized them all. I had plenty (of fuel) left.”
Brad Keselowski was joined in the race's top 10 leaderboard by fellow Dodge-sponsored driver, Kurt Busch, who finished 9th in the race.
For more information on Dodge-Sponsored NASCAR drivers, Brad Keselowski or Kurt Busch, check out the following links:
Images: Brad Keselowski, driver No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, celebrates winning the NSCS STP 400 at Kansas Speedway