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NASCAR Kvapil Wins In Memphis
Craftsman Truck Champion
July 1, 2007
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Travis Kvapil repeatedly apologized for spinning Brad Keselowski on the way to taking the lead for good in the Craftsman Truck Series O'Reilly 200.
Not that Kvapil expected his contrite words to make Keselowski feel better.
"That's definitely not how I race," Kvapil said. "I definitely didn't intentionally spin him around. His truck was not getting into the middle of the corner very good at all. He was really slowing down, almost coming to a stop.
"I had to go and make something happen."
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.
Jack Sprague finished second with Ron Hornaday, Mike Skinner and Aaron Fike closing out the top five. Kvapil's 91.806 mph average breaks his own record at the Memphis Motorsports Park from 2002. It also marks the first time in 10 races that someone has won the Memphis race starting outside the top five.
Even Sprague noted Kvapil's passing move when he saw the replay.
"Wow, Travis took him out," Sprague said. "That's not cool."
Keselowski, who replaced Musgrave in the No. 9 Toyota midweek, ended up 16th after the spin.
Earlier in the day, Keselowski continued his whirlwind week by capturing the pole in qualifying. It was the 23-year-old's first pole as he toured the three-quarters-mile tri-oval with a speed of 119.771 earlier Saturday Musgrave was suspended one race after an incident with rookie Kelly Bires last week in Milwaukee. Musgrave, who is now seventh in the series points race, chased down Bires and forced the rookie into the wall.
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 him 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 than 6 seconds in front of Skinner.
But Keselowski moved in close to Kvapil during a long green-flag run and drove past Kvapil when they came upon lapped 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.
"I used up everything I had to get to Travis and pass him," Keselowski said. "If I saved my stuff, I wasn't catching him."
But slower cars led to traffic, and Keselowski had to drive the truck even harder, using up his tires.
"Eventually, it got me where I had to slow the truck quite a bit, and unfortunately, that probably led to me getting run over," he said.
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.