LONG POND, Pa. ——Those among an estimated crowd of 85,000 who stuck it out through one of the longest days of racing in Pocono Raceway's 40-year history were rewarded on Sunday.
They got to see something they might never see again — a driver win a 500-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup race with a broken ankle.
Brad Keselowski posted one of the most remarkable wins in what has become a most unpredictable Sprint Cup season when he won the Good Sam RV Insurance 500 just four days after suffering a broken left ankle in a violent crash during a test session in Atlanta.
Keselowski said he refused to let his injury go from his foot to his head.
"When you let the pain get into your head that far that you don't believe you can win anymore, you'll never win," he said. "So, I woke up this morning feeling like we could win the race."
It was the third win of the Keselowski's career and his second this season, but this one may always rank as the most amazing no matter how long he races.
"When I look back at this years later, I will be thinking about overcoming adversity," Keselowski, 27, said. "I say to this Paul [Wolfe, his crew chief] and everyone on our team all the time, and that's that no one ever gives us anything. And they sure as hell didn't give us anything this weekend.
"I always wanted to win a Cup race and earn it and not win it on fuel mileage. … I wanted a real win and today feels like it's that."
Keselowski's improbable trip into Victory Lane capped a long day of racing that began at 9 a.m. with Kurt Harvick holding off Kyle Busch for a win in the resumed Truck Series race that was stopped by rain on Saturday afternoon.
That was followed by an ARCA race that was also postponed on Saturday.
The Sprint Cup race started on time, but the rain returned and stopped the race after 124 laps.
After a nearly two-hour weather delay, the race continued and it came down to a restart on lap 185 after a collision between Kasey Kahne and Juan Pablo Montoya.
Keselowski got the jump on his longtime rival Kyle Busch and never looked back in leading the final 16 laps.
"Certainly, it's definitely frustrating," Busch said. "With the truck race we expected second. … But here, for as good as our M&M Camry was today, we expected a little more than that."
Keselowski's reaction touched a lot of hearts.
He first waved the American flag from his Miller Lite Dodge and then said the lost troops in Afghanistan were his inspiration.
"I have cousins in the Navy Seals and one of the guys that died, I knew, and was friends with," he said. "And that kind of put this week in perspective for me. I might not have been feeling great, but those are the guys that are really making sacrifices. We're just driving race cars for a living. We're not curing cancer or saving the world like those guys are."