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Danica Patrick fired back at fellow driver David Gilliland on Friday as the feud continued.
Saturday, April 27, 2013
RICHMOND - 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.
Patrick tells Gilliland to take his own advice
RICHMOND - David Gilliland thinks Danica Patrick should "shut up and race." Patrick wants Gilliland to race her the same way he races other drivers.
Patrick vented over her in-car radio Sunday at Kansas about the way Gilliland was racing her, which led to Gilliland's sharp post-race reply. On Friday, Patrick wasn't backing down from her belief Gilliland races her differently than others.
"I watched him move over and let someone by, so no, I don't think he does and that's what makes me mad," Patrick said at Richmond International Raceway.
She then added Gilliland is "getting more attention for this than he deserves."
This feud heated up at Kansas when Patrick complained to her spotter: "He tries to take me out every time. Tell his spotter that I'm coming after him if he does it again. In fact I might just do it right now."
Gilliland's response was delivered through a Front Row Motorsports spokeswoman.
Patrick said the problems between the two actually date back almost a full year.
"I've felt like he drives very aggressively against me from Darlington last year on," she said. "It was just a lot more of it last weekend. He was just driving in a way that I didn't think was appropriate and I haven't thought it was appropriate for a long time."
Patrick made an appearance Wednesday on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report," joking about her road rage in a race car. She's racing for the first time Saturday night in a Sprint Cup car at Richmond, where a photo of comedian Stephen Colbert will be on her No. 10 Chevrolet.
Kenseth wins pole
RICHMOND - Matt Kenseth didn't wait long to get his pole award back.
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver stripped of his pole award from last week at Kansas in a raft of penalties levied by NASCAR this week, set a track record with a lap at 130.334 mph Friday at Richmond International Raceway.
Kenseth edged JGR teammate Brian Vickers by 0.005 seconds to claim only the 10th top starting position of his career in 481 starts. Vickers, who held the previous qualifying record at 129.983, is filling in for injured JGR driver Denny Hamlin.
Kyle Busch, the third driver for the team, qualified eighth.
"When you only win nine poles in 14 years, you're pretty darned fired up for all of them," Kenseth said. "For sure, that was one of our goals for this weekend was to come here, sit on the pole and kind of quiet down at least part of the noise."
Billy Currington dumped
CONCORD, N.C. - Charlotte Motor Speedway has replaced country singer Billy Currington as the pre-race act before next month's All-Star race.
Currington was charged Thursday with making terroristic threats and abuse of an elderly person. He was released from a Georgia jail after posting a $27,700 bond.