RRICHMOND, Va. — Brad Keselowski ducked underneath Kyle Busch to take the lead with 10 laps to go Friday night and won a wild NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Richmond International Raceway.
Keselowski had to hold off a final charge from Kevin Harvick, but after Harvick closed within a few car lengths, Keselowski kept him at bay and slightly expanded his margin in the final laps to win the three-way dual among some of NASCAR’s most aggressive and daring drivers.
"You’re racing the best and you know if you make a mistake, they’re going to beat you," Keselowski said.
The dueling included Keselowski passing Harvick on the outside with about 40 laps to go, and Busch passing them both on the outside for the lead with about 25 laps to go before the last two of eight cautions, the final one ending with 11 laps to go.
"I thought it was pretty darn good," Keselowski said. "I was grinning the whole time. I had fun and Kyle raced me really well, and so did Kevin. I think this is what racing is supposed to be like — side-by-side and just little touches, but not big ones. It was a great race all the way around."
The victory was the 21st of Keselowski’s career in the series and second on the 0.75-mile oval.
"We had a fast car at the end," Keselowski said. "It was just a matter of putting it in the right position."
Harvick, who led four times for a race-high 96 laps, was followed across the finish line by Busch, whose streak of three consecutive victories in the series came to an end. Brian Vickers was fourth, followed by Regan Smith.
"All in all, it was a fun night," Harvick said. "He just had a better car for the short runs."
The duel with Busch and Keselowski seemed as enjoyable to be part of as it was to watch.
"On any night it’s fun when you can race like that," Harvick said.
"It was good. Certainly there were some tense moments there," he said. "You’re fighting for everything you can get."
The race finished with a skirmish on pit road between the teams of season-long rivals Brian Scott and Nelson Piquet Jr., with Scott saying his team was upset because Piquet ran him into the wall while fighting for 15th place late in the race.
"When I went to talk to him, he just pushed and shoved me and then kicked me below the belt," Scott said. "It’s just a chicken move."
Sam Hornish Jr., the points leader and pole sitter, was dominant early. He led 83 laps, but his car faded at the end of a long green-flag run and he never contended again. He wound up seventh, but retained the points lead by one over Smith.
Ryan Reed, making his series debut, raced in the top 10 for part of the race and faded late, finishing 16th.