In this photo taken Friday Sept. 23, 2011, NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski is seen before qualifying for the Sylvania 300 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H. Two years ago, Keselowski was portrayed as an aggressive driver who didn't care who he ran over in his quest to make NASCAR's top level. Now, he's a championship contender and has had very few on-track scrapes. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Brad Keselowski has a ready answer when fans ask him why he runs the Nationwide Series instead of concentrating solely on the Sprint Cup.
It isn't for the money, he says, and it isn't for a chance to test for Cup competition.
It's so his Nationwide crew, led by Todd Gordon, won't fall victim to the economic crunch that shadows even NASCAR's money-making machine. Call it "Occupy Pit Road," if you will -- or in this case, "Occupy Victory Lane."
"Todd, without this program, would be laid off on unemployment," Keselowski said after winning Saturday at Kansas Speedway. "Because of (owner) Roger Penske, because of Discount Tire and all of us putting this program together, these guys are all out there working in tough times right now. It makes me very proud to be a part of this program."
Keselowski dominated, leading all but 27 laps on his way to victory.
"I think that car was spectacular," said second-place finisher Carl Edwards, who briefly held a late lead before Keselowsi pulled ahead for the last time. "He did a good job, too. I thought we were going to have a chance to race there pretty hard at the end, but once he got by me I couldn't do anything."
Keselowski, the Sprint Cup winner at the track in June, fell behind Edwards after a late caution, but pulled ahead with 11 laps to go and won by 2.795 seconds. Elliott Sadler was third, followed by Paul Menard, points leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Brian Vickers, Trevor Bayne and Ryan Truex.
Keselowski, a four-time winner this year, only lost the lead twice over the course of the race, each time regaining it within 10 laps.
"You couldn't ask for more, that's for sure," he said. "This car was just hauling the mail. We have fast cars, good pit stops, all these things. Just an awesome day, very special. I wish I could have cars like this all the time."
Harvick's top-10 finish came after a day filled with repairs. He twice had to take his car behind the wall so his crew could fix the splitter.
"I don't know if I could be any prouder," Harvick said.
With the third-place finish, Sadler narrowed Stenhouse's lead in the standings to 20 points with four races to go. Still, the points leader was happy to finish in the top five after struggling on pit road.
"I stalled it once, got a penalty for speeding and had a slow stop," Stenhouse said. "To still come back and run top five is not too bad."
Reed Sorenson, who lost his ride with Turner Motorsports earlier this week despite sitting third in the standings, finished 26th in MacDonald Motorsports' second car and fell 70 points behind Stenhouse.
Edwards' second-place finish in Roush Fenway's No. 60 Ford narrowed the owner's points standings as well. The No. 60 trails Joe Gibbs Racing's No. 18 Toyota by seven points, after coming into the race down by 13. Logano drove the No. 18 on Saturday.