August 2, 2014 at 11:53 pm

Saturday's motors roundup: Rochester Hills' Brad Keselowski wins perhaps his last Nationwide race in Iowa

Rochester Hills' Brad Keselowski celebrates his Nationwide victory with a burnout Saturday night in Iowa. (Brian Lawdermilk / Getty Images)

Newton, Iowa — If this was Brad Keselowski’s final trip to Iowa Speedway, he made it a memorable one.

The Rochester Hills native held off the charging Michael McDowell on Saturday night to win the NASCAR Nationwide race at the short track.

The only Sprint Cup driver commuting from Pocono in Pennsylvania, Keselowski led 146 of 250 laps for his third Nationwide victory of the season and second in two starts.

Trevor Bayne was third, followed by Sam Hornish Jr. and Ty Dillon.

Keselowski, who ran the No. 22 car so Ryan Blaney could stay in Pocono for Saturday’s Truck race, was set to cruise to an easy win when James Buescher’s crash erased his lead less than 10 laps from the finish.

But Keselowski went high to overtake McDowell and held on for his 30th series victory.

“He had me there for a minute. Somehow I slipped back by him. I’m really not even sure how that worked out,” said Keselowski, who mentioned after the race that the seat for the No. 22 car in Iowa likely will be given to a Penske developmental driver in the future.

“These wins, they’re not easy to come by.”

Points leader Chase Elliott finished eighth. He leads Regan Smith by two points.

Keselowski won for the third time at the track. He won the inaugural race five years ago and topped Hornish last season.

Keselowski’s success on Iowa’s short track — along with a front-row spot next to Bayne and six consecutive top-three finishes in NASCAR’s second-tier series — had him pegged as the heavy favorite from the moment the green flag dropped.

The Sprint Cup regular didn’t disappoint.

Keselowski and Hornish swapped the lead much of the night, with Keselowski taking control two-thirds of the way through the race.

Dakoda Armstrong’s blown tire less than 70 laps from the finish gave the front-runners a chance to make pit stops. Keselowski won the race off pit road and appeared to have the race locked up until the final caution put him in jeopardy.

The flag gave a relatively boring race a brilliant finish.

McDowell briefly held the lead, and the first win of his career appeared within reach before Keselowski made the move of the race.

“Brad definitely had the best car. But on those restarts, everybody’s got a shot,” McDowell said. “I tried my best. I gave it all I had. But I just got a little too loose on (turn) three and Brad got a run on the outside.”

Bayne won his first pole of the season earlier Saturday and led the first 31 laps, besting his total for the entire season just minutes into the race. Bayne also won the “Dash 4 Cash” promotion for series regulars, pocketing $100,000.

Keselowski put himself in position for a weekend sweep after qualifying third for Sunday’s race in Pocono.

Keselowski flew from Pennsylvania to Iowa about three hours before the race and flew right back to Pocono after the race, this time clutching perhaps his last trophy from the Iowa Speedway.

“This isn’t a race that Penske circles and says we want to send a Cup driver to. It’s just the way it works right now with our development drivers in the Trucks series. The race is a conflict,” Keselowski said. “But I’ve enjoyed the success I’ve had here.”

Trucks Series

Austin Dillon pulled away on the final restart to win the Truck Series race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania.

Dillon won his first Truck race of the season. His win came a week after his brother, Ty, won the Nationwide Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Dillon eluded Clint Bowyer and the rest of the field on the final restart of a caution-filled end to the race.

Johnny Sauter, Joey Coulter, Bowyer and Ryan Blaney completed the top five. Kyle Larson led from the pole for an early part of the race until his truck suffered engine issues and he faded to 18th.

Bowyer was driving for John Wes Townley, who was held out of all racing this weekend following a hard crash Friday at Pocono.

NHRA

John Force raced to his 150th No. 1 qualifying position in Funny Car in the NHRA Northwest Nationals in Kent, Washington.

The 65-year-old Force had a pass of 4.057 seconds at 307.86 mph in his Ford Mustang Funny Car on the final run of the day for his fourth No. 1 of the season and sixth at Pacific Raceways.

Force has two victories this year to push his record total to 140.

Tony Schumacher was the fastest in Top Fuel, and Allen Johnson led the Pro Stock field. Both had their fastest runs Friday.