Brad Keselowski‘s hopes of winning as he became NASCAR Nationwide Series champion in  the O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge race at Texas Motor Speedway were foiled by a determined Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch who came first and second respectively.

Keselowski’s third place finish left him 465 points clear of his nemesis, Edwards, with just two races and a maximum of 390 points up for grabs. Despite all the honours won in other categories, the title win is the first in NASCAR  for a Penske Racing driver and also the first in Nationwide for a driver of a Dodge.

Edwards led twice during the race and finally took the lead for the third time on lap 190 and held it through to the green-white-checker finish after a caution was shown between laps 199 and 203 due to fluid on the track. He celebrated with his customary backflip from his car  but then saw a gap in the fencing and ran up into the grandstand to share his third win in the series with a lucky few of the spectators. Edwards win also earned him a $75,000 prize in the Nationwide “Dash for cash” award to winning drivers in the last four races who have raced in the whole series.

Kyle Busch complained after the race about Edwards restart for the g-w-c finish, feeling that the latter had got a jump start on him but Edwards clearly had the faster car on the night and would have taken the win no matter what. If Busch had managed to win the race he would have created a new NASCAR record by winning six consecutive races at one circuit – he is currently tied with Dale Earnhardt who won  five in a row at Daytona and Jack Ingram who won five consecutive times at South Boston Speedway in Virginia between 1985-86.

Busch, along with Aric Amirola , have completed two-thirds of their epic weekend’s racing, both completing the full distance in the race to add to them both running the full number of laps in last night’s Camping World Truck Series race last night. Surviving tomorrow’s Sprint Cup Series race will see them both run over 1,000 racing laps this weekend.

Further back in the pack Justin Allgaier and Trevor Bayne fought to the finish both hoping to collect another $75,000 prize for the highest scoring non-Cup driver over the last four races. Bayne gets to run in Sunday’s Sprint Cup race in the legendary #21 Ford run by the equally legendary Woods Brothers in a deal arranged with Roush Fenway team; if Bayne can get a decent result he could well qualify to start in Daytona in 2011 and did his chances no harm qualifying ahead of two Chase drivers, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin.