Keselowski 'mans up' for win

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LONG POND, Pa. --- Brad Keselowski was inspired Sunday by a relative in the Navy SEALs, and that was all he needed to push through his painful ankle injury.

Brad Keselowski, driving with a brace to protect his broken left ankle, dedicated his victory at Pocono Raceway on Sunday to the troops in Afghanistan. It was his second win of the season.   Associated Press
Associated Press
Brad Keselowski, driving with a brace to protect his broken left ankle, dedicated his victory at Pocono Raceway on Sunday to the troops in Afghanistan. It was his second win of the season.

Keselowski's cousin lost a friend who was one of 30 American service members who died when their helicopter was shot down during fighting in eastern Afghanistan.

The NASCAR driver took the sacrifice to heart, and vowed he would not leave his car no matter how bad he hurt.

So Keselowski went out and raced all 500 miles of the Sprint Cup stop at Pocono Raceway with a broken left ankle.

As if that wasn't enough, he somehow managed to win, too.

Competing with a brace on his ankle, Keselowski sped off on the final restart late in the race to pick up his second victory of the season.

He dedicated the victory to the troops in Afghanistan.

"I might not be feeling great, but those are the guys that are really making sacrifices," Keselowski said. "Whenever I got in the car and felt like, man, this really hurts, it was good inspiration as to what it takes to 'man up' and make it happen."

Keselowski was an unlikely winner after he crashed head-on into a wall on Wednesday during a test session at Road Atlanta. He slammed a section of wall at 100 mph and was forced out of the Nationwide Series race.

He insisted he wouldn't leave the No. 2 Dodge, no matter the aches and pain.

No relief driver was necessary, though Keselowski had some rest during a 1 hour, 40-minute rain delay.

"I was amazed he raced the full race," third-place finisher Kurt Busch said.

Keselowski's victory placed him in prime position to claim one of two wild-card spots available for the Chase for the championship. The top two drivers with the most victories in 11th to 20th place earn a wild-card spot for the playoffs.

Keselowski, in 18th place, is the only one of the wild-card contenders with two victories. Only five races remain until the field is set. The top 10 drivers in the points standings automatically qualify.

"It gives us pretty high odds if we're playing poker," he said.

Points leaders

1. Carl Edwards 720

2. Jimmie Johnson 711

3. Kyle Busch 709

4. Kurt Busch 706

5. Kevin Harvick 700

6. Matt Kenseth 694

7. Jeff Gordon 668

8. Ryan Newman 658

9. Tony Stewart 642

10. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 641

11. Denny Hamlin 618

12. Clint Bowyer 600

NEXT RACE

WHAT: Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen

WHEN: 1 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: Watkins Glen International

TV: ESPN

DEFENDING CHAMPION: Juan Montoya


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