Brad Keselowski was the class of the field. Kevin Harvick was mad at his team. Kyle Busch thought he was under powered.
When Friday night’s Hero Campaign 300 at Kentucky Speedway was completed, Keselowski had been sidelined by a speeding penalty, Busch inherited the lead and then lost it to eventual winner Harvick on a restart with four of 200 laps remaining.
“This race certainly didn’t end how it started,” said Harvick.
No, it did not.
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Keselowski led 138 of the first 148 laps but was penalized by NASCAR for speeding on pit road during a green-flag pit stop on Lap 149.
That sent Keselowski back to 17th and left Busch in the lead. Busch held off Harvick on three consecutive restarts before finally getting passed on a restart after seventh caution of the race.
“We just didn’t have enough on the final restart unfortunately,” said Busch. “Kevin just flat-out drove right by me. I was wide-open so I think there is a problem under the hood a little bit.”
Keselowski managed to get back up to second on Lap 197 but never really had an opportunity to get close enough to Harvick for a pass for the lead.
“I don’t think so,” Keselowski said if he had a chance to catch him with more laps. “We weren’t really gaining on him and he looked good.”
Harvick said most of his race was “frustrating.”
“I kind of got frustrated in the car and kind of chewed them all out. In the end, we had the right strategy and they made the car better at the end,” he said.
“Once we got out front, this car really took off.”
The win is Harvick’s second this season in the Nationwide Series and 42nd of his career. He is driving a limited schedule for JR Motorsports this season.
Keselowski finished second, Busch was third, Paul Menard was fourth and Ryan Blaney was fifth. Elliott Sadler, who finished 10th, took over the series points lead and holds a four-point advantage over rookie Chase Elliott, who finished 12th.