BROOKLYN, Mich. – A bum clutch didn’t trip up Brad Keselowski. Neither did racing in close proximity with nemesis Carl Edwards.

Keselowski managed to make it through pit stops despite mechanical problems, then grabbed the lead on a restart with eight laps to go and pulled away to win the NASCAR Nationwide race at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday.

“The clutch issue was something I was really nervous about,” said Keselowski, who also won last year’s Nationwide race here. “I didn’t know if that was going to cost us the race. I tried to be cool about that, but it’s easy to get upset.”

Edwards was second, barely edging Kyle Busch.

Edwards and Keselowski raced side-by-side for a large portion of the race without incident. Both drivers are on probation for a high-profile confrontation at Gateway International Raceway last month.

“It’s like both of us are probably thinking the same thing, don’t be the guy that messes this up,” Edwards said. “But he raced me very cleanly, I thought we raced very well together, and that’s the kind of racing that I’m sure both of us want to be doing.”

Meanwhile, it was another rough day at the racetrack for Danica Patrick, fell a lap behind early on and struggled to a 27th-place finish.

Patrick said her car was extremely loose early on — “I hope I don’t crash,” she remembered thinking — but the team improved the car’s handling late in the race.

“If we could have started the race the way we finished it, it would have been a very different story,” Patrick said. “It’s all right. It’s all part of it.”

Justin Allgaier was fourth, followed by Paul Menard.

It was the fourth Nationwide victory of the season and 10th of his career for Keselowski, who holds a 347-point lead in the series standings.

Edwards was hoping he could “steal” a win, but acknowledged the best car won the race.

“Brad was able to just launch out front on that last run,” Edwards said. “It was just a battle for second then, and it was a pretty good battle.

“I had a pretty good time racing that last lap.”

It was the second race for NASCAR’s next-generation Nationwide car, which made its debut at Daytona.

“I think it raced well,” Edwards said. “I think the safety improvements are good. The only thing I would wish for is just less downforce, more horsepower.”

Keselowski said Edwards congratulated him in victory lane and downplayed the rivalry.

Keselowski dominated the first half of the race, at one point holding a lead of more than 11 seconds. But his clutch acted up on a pit stop near the race’s halfway point, causing him to lose the lead to Menard.

Edwards took the lead on Lap 77, with Keselowski on his tail as Menard slipped to third. After some close racing through slower traffic, Keselowski regained the lead with 40 laps to go.

NASCAR TRUCKS: Todd Bodine led the final 47 laps at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, S.C., to take his second straight win in the truck series.

Bodine held off pole-sitter Timothy Peters through two restarts to win in the Camping World Truck Series’ first appearance at the “Lady in Black” in six years.

Bodine, the only one in the field with a Darlington victory, proved there’s nothing more important here than experience. Bodine won a Nationwide Series race at Darlington in 2003, sliding over the finish line after a last-lap tangle with Jamie McMurray.

BEECH RIDGE: David Oliver of Standish finished ahead Chris Thorne of Sidney and Bill Rodgers of Old Orchard Beach to win the 40-lap NASCAR Pro Series feature at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway.

Other winners were: Jason Larrabee of Raymond, Sport Series; Brian Caswell of Waterboro, Wildcat; and Ryan Phillips of Buxton, Road Runners.


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