NEWTON, Iowa – Brad Keselowski survived a late-race battle for the lead with Michael McDowell, then pulled away to win Saturday’s U.S. Cellular 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Iowa Speedway.
Keselowski took a break from his Sprint Cup duties to pilot the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford in a race he dominated down the stretch. A caution with seven laps to go sent the leaders to pit road. Keselowski had to fend off a hard-charging McDowell to score his third career victory at Iowa.
“You can never take these races for granted,” Keselowski said. “Sam (Hornish Jr.) and Michael ran hard. They ran a great race.
“I kind of feel lucky to win it. Everybody at Team Penske did such a great job. We really want to win the owner’s championship for (car owner) Roger (Penske).”
McDowell, driving the No. 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, finished second. Polesitter Trevor Bayne, Sam Hornish Jr. and Ty Dillon rounded out the top five.
McDowell only makes a couple of starts per year with JGR, usually in standalone NNS events like at Iowa. Second-place was his best finish for JGR, but one spot short of what he wanted.
“It’s bittersweet,” McDowell said. “I had a shot at it and I just got a little loose in Turn Three, Brad got a run and I couldn’t hold it there. “I feel so privileged and blessed to be in this No.20 car. It’s cool to run second but it hurts, too.”
Regan Smith, Brian Scott, points leader Chase Elliott, Dylan Kwasniewski and Elliott Sadler rounded out the top five.
Smith’s sixth-place finish cut Elliott’s lead to two points.
Bayne didn’t want to settle for third, but his finish earned him a $100,000 bonus from Nationwide Insurance for winning the final Dash 4 Cash.