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Local Sports

November 19, 2012

Keselowski, Wolfe cruise to Cup title

(Continued)

Keselowski needed 125 starts to win his first championship — the fewest starts since four-time champion Jeff Gordon won his first title in 93 starts in 1995. Keselowski also won a second-tier Nationwide title in 2010, with Wolfe as his crew chief in his first season with Penske. That marked the owner’s first official NASCAR championship.

Gordon, who avoided suspension this week but was fined $100,000 by NASCAR for intentionally wrecking Clint Bowyer last week at Phoenix, overcame the controversy to win the race in a 20th anniversary celebration for sponsor Dupont and Hendrick Motorsports.

It was Gordon’s first victory at Homestead, which leaves Kentucky as the only active NASCAR track where he’s yet to win.

Who did Gordon beat? Bowyer, of course.

And Bowyer’s second-place finish moved him to a career-best second in the final standings. Third-place went to Ryan Newman, who got his break in NASCAR with Penske and spent seven seasons driving for the owner.

Keselowski started the race up 20 points on Johnson, who blew a tire and crashed last week at Phoenix. That gave Keselowski a nice cushion, needing to finish 15th or higher in the finale to wrap up his first championship. But the Penske team took nothing for granted — not after Will Power crashed in the IndyCar finale to blow a 17-point lead and lose the championship.

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