MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – Travis Kvapil finally passed a spinning Brad Keselowski with nine laps to go and pulled away on the restart to capture the Craftsman Truck Series O’Reilly 200 on Saturday night, his second win in three weeks.
Kvapil, who was the O’Reilly champion in 2002, had stalked Keselowski for more than a half dozen laps before taking the lead on 192 when he got into the bumper of Keselowski, who was replacing suspended driver Ted Musgrave. The contact coming out of Turn 4 sent Keselowski spinning toward the infield, and Kvapil swept by to take the lead.
Kvapil’s said after the race he didn’t intend to wreck Keselowski for the win.
Jack Sprague finished second with Ron Hornaday Jr., Mike Skinner and Aaron Fike closing out the top five. Kvapil’s 91.806 mph average breaks his own record from 2002.
Musgrave was suspended one race after an incident with rookie Kelly Bires.
last week in Milwaukee. Musgrave, who was seventh in the series points race, chased down Bires and forced the rookie into the wall.
Hornaday was on the outside of the first row, qualifying with a 118.718.
Keselowski’s top lap was a good sign as the two previous winners in Memphis – Sprague and Brandon Whitt – won from the pole.
Early on, the sub was doing well, holding the lead through the first 20 laps, but the veteran Hornaday got underneath the rookie on the restart following a caution and took the lead when Keselowski got sideways.
By the midway point of the 200-lap race, Kvapil held the lead by more than a second, passing Hornaday seven circuits earlier. Kvapil was distancing himself from the field at that point, 2 seconds ahead of Hornaday and more the 6 seconds in front of Mike Skinner.
But Keselowski moved in close to Kvapil during a long green-flag run and drove past Kvapil when they came upon lap traffic on Lap 148. Kvapil wouldn’t let Keselowski get away, staying right on his bumper in lapped traffic, particularly in turns 3 and 4, until the spin in the final laps.
Kvapil won two weeks ago at Michigan International Speedway when he passed Kyle Busch with one lap to go.
Before the start, racers and dignitaries recognized the late-Bobby Hamilton, the 2004 O’Reilly 200 winner, who died earlier this year of complications from cancer.