Keselowski Wins in Vegas as Dale Earnhardt Jr. Runs out of Gas

Keselowski wins in Vegas 1 photo
This weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway wasn’t for the faint-hearted, as the winner was decided on the final lap after the leader ran out of fuel.
We’re talking about Chevy SS driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., who led the race for 51 laps only to run out of gas half-lap from the finish. Penske driver Brad Keselowski was close enough to sneak into first place and win by only 1.5 seconds.

“It’s such a (relief) for myself and everyone on the team to get that win in early and being able to enjoy the racing opportunities that we have, rather than being stressed out about it,” Keselowski said. “The chance that Dale and Stevie took with the 88 car was way out there.

It was the first time Keselowski took the checkered flag this season, while Earnhardt Jr., the Daytona 500 winner, had to settle for second place for the second-straight race.

“I ran two real hard laps right after that restart (on Lap 226), and we got about a 20-car-length lead, and I started lifting real early into both corners and seeing whether they were going to catch me,” Earnhardt explained. “So I was being pretty cautious and lifting pretty early, and when I saw Brad pass the 99 (Edwards), I knew Brad in clean air would be quicker than us, potentially - he had been all day - and I just continued to save fuel and hope that once he got behind me and got into dirty air I could keep him there.

“I continued to save until he got within about eight car lengths, and then I started running hard, and we were fast enough to keep him behind us. As soon as I got to the top of Turns 1 and 2 the last several laps, I was real comfortable that he wasn't going to get to me, felt fine about, if we had enough gas, we weren't going to have a problem, but we didn't have enough gas,” he added.

Despite losing the race on the final lap, Earnhardt Jr. is still leading in the driver’ championship with 133 points. Keselowski follows in second position with 132 points, while Jimmie Johnson holds third place with 117 points.

2014 Kobalt 400 Las Vegas top 10:

1. Brad Keselowski (Team Penske/Ford)
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Hendrick Motorpsorts/Chevrolet)
3. Paul Menard (Richalrd Childress Racing/Chevrolet)
4. Joey Logano (Team Penske/Ford)
5. Carl Edwards (Roush Fenway Racing/Ford)
6. Jimmie Johnson (Hendrick Motorsports/Chevrolet)
7. Ryan Newman (Richard Childress Racing/Chevrolet)
8. Kasey Kahne (Hendrick Motorsports/Chevrolet)
9. Jeff Gordon (Hendrick Motorsports/Chevrolet)
10. Matt Kenseth (Joe Gibbs Racing/Toyota).

Scroll down for the final laps of the race.

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About the author: Ciprian Florea
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Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
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