GLADEVILLE, Tenn. — Brad Keselowski raced to his third NASCAR Nationwide Series victory of the year and ninth overall, easily holding off rival Carl Edwards on Saturday night at Nashville Superspeedway.
Keselowski, the series points leader, led 97 of 225 laps in his Penske Dodge and finished 1.67 seconds ahead of Edwards. Paul Menard was third, giving Sprint Cup drivers the top three spots.
Keselowski, Edwards, Menard and Michael McDowell also will race Sunday at Pocono in the Sprint Cup event. McDowell exited early after finishing 30th.
"It's still physically demanding. I'm sure I'll do a lot of sleeping on the way to Pocono," Keselowski said. "When I'm sitting the plane, I don't think, 'Oh, man, I can't believe I've got to fly to Nashville.' I'm thinking, 'Oh, wow, I can't believe somebody is paying me to drive in Nashville.'"
Keselowski, also the 2008 Nashville winner, increased his points lead from one to 196 over second-place Kyle Busch – the defending series champion who skipped the Nashville race and isn't running for the season title.
Keselowski was the only one of the top three finishers to actually arrive in time to practice Friday, and credited that for the victory that earned him the customized Gibson Guitar that goes to each race winner at the Nashville track.
"It's quite simple. If I didn't come down here (to practice), I wouldn't have won the race," Keselowski said.
Edwards, a three-time winner at the Nashville track, admitted that he had his sights set on winning the uitar.
"It was a good battle," Edwards said. "I needed one more reset to try and work Brad, and have a chance at it, but his car was faster and he did a really good job driving it. … I was thinking about that guitar a little bit in the middle of the race. It felt good to be that close to a win."
Justin Allgaier, the pole-sitter, finished fourth.