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Mechanical Failure Dooms Keselowski at Las Vegas

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LAS VEGAS — With three laps remaining in Sunday’s Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, it appeared Brad Keselowski had his second consecutive win of the season and at the 1.5-mile track all but secured.

Then his No. 2 suffered a mechanical issue, allowing Martin Truex Jr. to claim the lead and earn his first victory of the season.

Keselowski started from the front row alongside pole winner Truex and led 89 of 267 laps. He established a cushy lead after the final restart that occurred with 10 laps to go but suddenly fell off the pace on Lap 265. He ended up with a fifth-place result.

The Team Penske driver said he wasn’t sure of what caused the failure.

“They’ll have to take [the car] apart, it has to go through inspection,” Keselowski said. “I just know it was something major. It wouldn’t turn, and I lost the brakes, so it’s a pretty good indicator.”

Last week, Keselowski took advantage of Kevin Harvick’s pit road speeding penalty at Atlanta Motor Speedway to put himself in position for the win. This time around, luck wasn’t on his side and fell just short of winning his third race at Las Vegas in four years.

“If you put yourself in position to win, good things will happen, and that’s what happened to us last week,” he said. “But it didn’t happen this week, so you pick up the pieces, you move on, and we have a lot to be proud of.”

The 2012 champion will pick up the pieces and go for his first career win at Phoenix International Raceway next week.

EMAIL JOHN AT john.haverlin@popularspeed.com

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John Haverlin

John Haverlin is currently studying Communication at Arizona State University. He has been a reporter at Phoenix International Raceway for three years and has written news stories for the track's official site. Born and raised in Long Island, N.Y., Haverlin has lived in Arizona the past three years.