FORT WORTH, Texas — Brad Keselowski clinched the Nationwide season title by finishing third in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge on Saturday, giving owner Roger Penske his first championship in one of NASCAR’s national series.
Keselowski, who had to finish only 21st or better to wrap up the driver’s championship with two races left, crossed the line behind winner Carl Edwards and runner-up Kyle Busch.
“What a terrific season it has been for Brad,” Penske said.
Edwards charged ahead on the final restart, a green-white-checker finish that added five laps to the scheduled 200-lap race. Busch was denied a NASCAR-record sixth consecutive win at Texas and claimed that Edwards took off early.
“Carl Edwards jumped the restart by about three (car) lengths,” an obviously annoyed Busch said. “The race is over. Guy’s in Victory Lane. Doesn’t matter.”
Busch, a Las Vegas native, led three times for a race-high 107 laps. Edwards also led three times for 59 laps.
While Keselowski has clinched the driver’s title, the No. 22 still is second in owner points behind the Joe Gibbs-owned No. 18 driven by Busch.
Edwards withstood two late restarts to beat Busch. The first was after his 1.69-second lead was wiped out when a car four laps down spun, bringing out the caution.
On the restart on lap 191, Busch went down inside while Edwards went high around Trevor Bayne, who was leading only because he didn’t take the final stop. Once they got around Bayne, Edwards and Busch were going side by side before Edwards pushed ahead.
■ FORMULA ONE — At Sao Paulo, Williams driver Nico Hulkenberg surprisingly took the pole position for today’s Brazilian Grand Prix, beating Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber in qualifying.
Lewis Hamilton of McLaren was fourth and championship leader Fernando Alonso of Ferrari fifth.
Hulkenberg stunned the field with a fast lap of 1 minute, 14.470 seconds at the 2.6-mile Interlagos track, more than a second ahead of the rest of the field.
Also, Team McLaren reported armed men tried to attack the car carrying defending series champion Jenson Button as he left the track. The team said Button was driven away from danger and no one was hurt.