Brad Keselowski considered his victory in Friday night’s Drive for the Cure 300 a big win.
There’s the possibility now of an even bigger weekend.
With 14 of 200 laps remaining at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Keselowski ran down his Team Penske teammate Ryan Blaney to take the lead and then held off a charge from Kyle Busch to earn his fourth Nationwide Series win on the year.
Next up for Keselowski is Saturday night’s Bank of America 500 Sprint Cup race, where a repeat victory from a year ago could help him soothe the pain of a blown tire and wreck at Kansas a week ago.
“It was looking to be a long night after we hit the wall. These guys did a great job of getting it fixed, getting us back out there, driving it to the front and winning this thing,” said Keselowski, who earned his 31st series victory.
“We never gave up. We kept pushing forward and got a big win out of it.”
Asked if there was a possibility of a weekend sweep, Keselowski said: “This would be a huge weekend to sweep. We’re looking forward to the challenge. We have work cut out for us.
“No one is going to hand it to us.”
Keselowski, who is tied with the most wins this season in the Cup series (five), is in danger of being eliminated from title contention if he is in the bottom four in points among Chase drivers following next weekend’s race at Talladega, Ala.
A win Saturday night at Charlotte would automatically advance him to Round 3 of the Chase.
Keselowski and Busch were among a handful of cars which experienced excessive tire wear early in Friday night’s race. The tire wear greatly altered pit strategy for several teams and several ran out of new tires and put on scuff (worn) tires on their final pit stop.
Blaney, who took two new tires on his last stop, led on the final restart on Lap 182. It took five laps for Keselowski – who had saved a set of four new tires for his final stop – to get around Blaney for the lead.
Matt Kenseth finished third, Blaney was fourth and Kyle Larson was fifth.
Series points leader and rookie Chase Elliott finished eighth and holds a 42-point lead in the series standings over his JR Motorsports teammate Regan Smith with three races left this season.
Elliott was frustrated with himself with getting passed on several restarts in the race while he was the leader.
“To have my guys give me the lead that many times (on pit road) and not come back to the line with the lead is downright pitiful,” he said.
Busch said his car did not perform well early in the race but got much better as the race went on. He was unhappy with a late debris caution which slowed his momentum to the front.
“With about 60 to go we had a tire advantage over (several competitors) and that was the way we were going to win the race but bizarre debris cautions always ruin those things for you,” he said.