By JENNA FRYER
AP Auto Racing Writer
3:17 PM PST, November 18, 2012
Brad Keselowski has won his first NASCAR championship.
The 28-year-old Detroit native clinched the Sprint Cup title Sunday when fellow title contender Jimmie Johnson pulled out of the season finale because of a parts failure. The championship is the first for longtime NASCAR owner Roger Penske and gives outgoing car manufacturer Dodge the sweetest of parting gifts.
All Keselowski had to do was stay out of trouble over the final 60 miles, which essentially turned out to be 40 victory laps around Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Keselowski says over his radio, "If he's in the garage, let's race."
It is Dodge's first Cup championship since Richard Petty's title in 1975. And it surely will help Penske get over a heartbreaking second-place finish in the IndyCar championship in September.
Jeff Gordon won the race, with Kansas native Clint Bowyer finishing second. With the second place finish, and Johnson's troubles, Bowyer moved into second place in the standings. He beats out the 5-time champion, by one point to grab the runner up spot. It is Bowyer's best ever points finish and it comes in his first season at Michael Waltrip racing.
"It's huge," said Bowyer. "To end up second in points and beat guys like Jimmie Johnson to do it. There's several races -- had I had to do over again -- I wish they would've been different. Talladega was the biggest one. We just got behind at Talladega and never could really bounce back. I'm proud of everybody, because we were there all season long."
Brad Keselowski wins the Sprint Cup Championship: