When Brad Keselowski talked to reporters before the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Texas Motor Speedway, he said he wanted a cowboy hat. Now he has one after he emerged as the winner in the 200-lap O’Reilley Auto Parts Challenge at TMS.
The Penske Racing Discount Tire Ford was strong throughout the race, but when the first caution came out on lap 70 and yellow flag pit stops occurred Keselowski fell back and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin took over the lead.
Sprint Cup regulars, Hamlin and Matt Kenseth, had a wild west showdown as they fought for the lead position on lap 85 and it went on for 10 laps. Kenseth was able to clear Hamlin and claimed the top spot.
The pair would keep battling throughout the race with Keselowski falling to ninth place. Keselowski battled back to fifth place after Kyle Busch brought out a caution. A right rear tire gave up on Busch’s #54 Monster Energy Toyota on lap 110 and he spun causing quite a bit of damage to the car. He would finish four laps down in the 26th position.
After a late caution caused by a spinning Travis Pastrana on lap 179, the battle was back on between Hamlin and Keselowski. Keselowski eventually won that battle and the race as he enjoyed putting on the black cowboy hat he was determined to win. This was Keselowski’s sixth win in the Nationwide Series this season. He led 106 laps during the race.
The rest of the top-10 included Denny Hamlin, Sam Hornish, Jr., Austin Dillon, Regan Smith, Elliott Sadler, Brian Scott, Kyle Larson and Brad Sweet.
Keselowski’s teammate, Sam Hornish, Jr., had a positive ending to his day. He had gone a lap down after committing a commitment line infraction and had to serve a pass-through penalty. The cautions fell his way and he was able to get back on the lead lap and finish third.
Hornish, Jr. and Austin Dillon remain the top two in the championship standings. Dillon leads Hornish, Jr. by only six points. Regan Smith is third in points, 54 points out of first place.
The next Nationwide Series race will be at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday, Nov. 9 at 4 p.m. ET. How will the championship look after this key race?