Driver Brad Keselowski celebrates after winning the NASCAR UNOH 200 Truck Series auto race Thursdayin Bristol, Tenn. (Wade Payne / Associated Press)
Bristol, Tenn. — Brad Keselowski earned his first NASCAR Truck Series victory on Thursday, becoming the first father-son duo to do so.
Keselowski (Rochester Hills) passed defending champion Kyle Busch with 75 laps to go and held off Busch’s teammate Darrell Wallace Jr. in the UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Bob Keselowski won a Truck Series race at Richmond, Virginia, in 1997 after joining the series three years earlier during its inaugural season.
“My family has been with this series since its inception,” Keselowski said. “I feel I’ve been a part of it too, whether it was as a kid watching or now as a team owner and a driver.”
It was Keselowski’s first Truck Series win in 62 starts. Wallace closed to Keselowski’s back bumper with two laps left, but drifted high in turn one and Keselowski pulled away to a 0.776 second victory.
In that final charge, Wallace opted to avoid contact with Keselowski instead of trying to bump him from the lead.
“I try to race everybody with respect,” Wallace said. “I was sitting there in the truck after the race just trying to replay everything and if I could have done anything different. I would have had to wreck him to get by him.”
Four-time Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday Jr. finished third, followed by Matt Crafton and series points leader Johnny Sauter. Rain washed out the race on Wednesday night.
Busch, who has a track record 17 NASCAR national series wins at Bristol, crashed with 22 laps to go. After leading three times for 81 laps, he finished six laps down in 24th place.
Keselowski, who led three times for 119 laps in the No. 19 Ford, became the 25th driver to win in all three of NASCAR’s national series (Cup, Nationwide and Trucks). The 2012 Sprint Cup Series champion had five second-place finishes in the Truck Series entering the race.
“This was more of a personal quest in the sense that I’m the boss and team owner,” said Keselowski of his first win driving a vehicle he owned. “When you have the driver hat and ownership hat on at the same time and you have that control, the failures hit you more personal because there are no excuses.
“But the successes mean more.”
All eyes will be on Mercedes at the Belgian Grand Prix as the increasingly tense rivalry between championship leader Nico Rosberg and teammate Lewis Hamilton resumes following a summer break.
At last month’s Hungarian GP, when Hamilton expressed outrage at being told to allow Rosberg through.
Hamilton refused team orders, invariably costing Rosberg victory.