NASCAR Cup Series driver Brad Keselowski, who is in the final year of his contract with Team Penske, has said several times over the last couple of weeks that he is not sure where he will end up in 2021.
But on Sunday, it became apparent late in the race where he would end up in the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 â?? victory lane at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Over the final 60 laps, Keselowski was able to shake free of race-long nemesis Denny Hamlin and finish 1.647 seconds ahead of the Joe Gibbs Racing runner-up.
“We’ve had a lot of great races this year with the (No.) 2 car but we haven’t gone out and kind of dominated a race, you know?” said Keselowski, the 2012 Cup champion. “Was talking to (crew chief) Jeremy Bullins and, ‘Like man, what do we need to get next to that next level?’ We’re right there. We need to go out and go just dominate a race and that’s what today was for us.”
The victory was the second of Keselowski’s career at “The Magic Mile” in Loudon, N.H. It was his third of the season and came after finishing second at Kansas Speedway last time out. It was career win No. 33 for the Michigan native.
Keselowski credited a decision made by Penske to switch crew chiefs prior to the start of 2020.
“I’ve had a good career and I probably needed a kick in the ass and Jeremy and this whole team has been a kick in the butt for me to make me a little better and push me to another level. We’re doing that so far,” Keselowski said.
Keselowski led eight times for 184 of 301 laps. Hamlin led 10 times for 92 laps. They would end up passing each other 13 times for the lead. No other driver led more than nine laps.
“Wow, that was some really, really good short track racing there,” the five-race winner Hamlin said. “Hopefully the fans liked what they saw there with me and the 2 (Keselowski) for most of the day. Some great side-by-side racing. We treated each other fair and it’s good that we got one-two out of it.”
Martin Truex Jr. of JGR finished third â?? over six seconds behind the winner.
Joey Logano of the Penske team was fourth while Kevin Harvick was fifth.