Brad Keselowski, right, kisses the yard of bricks at the start-finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series auto race in Indianapolis, Saturday, July 28, 2012. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
INDIANAPOLIS -- Brad Keselowski took the lead when Elliott Sadler was penalized for jumping a late restart, then held on to win Saturday in a controversial finish to the first NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Sadler passed Keselowski on a restart with 18 laps to go, but officials ruled that Sadler went too early and black-flagged him. Sadler stayed on the track for several laps, apparently hoping officials would reconsider the penalty, before finally coming in with 12 laps to go and giving up the lead to Keselowski.
Keselowski went unchallenged to the finish on the historic 2.5-mile oval.
Sam Hornish Jr. was second, followed by Ty Dillon, Denny Hamlin and Austin Dillon. The Dillon brothers are the grandsons of NASCAR team owner Richard Childress; Ty was making only his second career Nationwide start.
Sadler finished 15th.
Danica Patrick's day ended early after she collided with Reed Sorenson on lap 39.
Kyle Busch dominated the first half of the race, but got shuffled back in the field during a round of pit stops on lap 63 and Hornish took the lead.
Keselowski then passed Hornish for the lead with 29 laps to go, and a caution came out shortly afterward. Busch was fourth on the subsequent restart but spun out right after the race went green. He managed to avoid major damage but lost his shot at the win.
Sadler then shot past Keselowski on a restart with 18 laps to go -- but Sadler was black flagged for jumping the start.
With his crew pleading with NASCAR officials, Sadler stayed on the track instead of coming into the pits to serve the penalty. Sadler finally came in with 12 laps to go, fuming over the radio to his crew as he gave up the race lead and handed it back to Keselowski.
It was the first-ever Nationwide race at the historic oval, part of an effort by officials to drum up interest and boost sagging attendance at the Brickyard 400. Indianapolis also added a Grand Am Series sports car race on the track's infield road course on Friday.
But the addition of Nationwide to the weekend schedule didn't prove to be an immediate hit with fans, as the grandstands were largely empty Saturday.
And any fans who came to see Patrick race didn't get to see much of her.
Patrick appeared to tap Sorenson's back bumper going into Turn 1, causing the back end of Sorenson's car to slide sideways. Sorenson nearly saved it, but his left-front wheel got into the infield grass, causing him to spin out. Patrick then hit Sorenson's car, causing heavy damage.
"I got pretty close and I might have tapped him," Patrick said in a television interview. "I'm not sure."
Patrick said Sorenson slowed unexpectedly.
"I didn't mean to take him out," Patrick said. "I don't know if he's still going or not, but I'm sorry."
It was a rough way to return to Indy for Patrick, who talked earlier in the week about how much she loves the track going back to her IndyCar days.
"I just feel really bad," Patrick said. "Everybody works really hard and we just haven't been able to get the finishes for the team that they deserve."
Kurt Busch was involved in an early incident on pit road, then had a mechanical problem and was out of the race after 41 laps.