Track: Martinsville Speedway
Race: First Data 500
Date: October 28, 2018
No. 2 Thomas Built Buses Ford Fusion – Brad Keselowski
Stage 1: 16th
Stage 2: 10th
Laps Completed: 500/500
Laps Led: 41
Playoff Standings (behind ninth): 10th (-5)
- Brad Keselowski scored a fifth-place finish Sunday afternoon in the First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway. The driver of the Thomas Built Buses Ford Fusion scored his 10th top-five finish of the season and seventh top five at the .526-mile speedway. Keselowski is 10th in the MENCS driver standings, 18 points behind ninth-place Ryan Blaney.
- Keselowski started the race from the rear after being penalized by NASCAR for unapproved adjustments. He spent much of Stage 1 working his way through the traffic and moving toward the front, finishing 16th when the 130-lap segment was complete. Keselowski pitted for four tires and air pressure adjustments during the stage caution on lap 133.
- During Stage 2, Keselowski continued moving forward. He climbed into the top-10 on lap 167 and scored a 10th-place finish when Stage 2 ended on 260. Keselowski pitted during the stage caution on lap 264 for four tires and air pressure adjustments. Solid work on pit lane moved him up to seventh position for the restart on lap 269.
- Keselowski continued to move up the leaderboard during the final stage. He ran inside the top-five early in the segment then before settling into seventh position by lap 328. The driver of the No. 2 Ford Fusion pitted during the fifth caution on lap 368. Crew chief Paul Wolfe made the call for four tires and adjustments and the changes brought his car to life, especially on the shorter runs. Two cautions (laps 383 and 398) set up two restarts and Keselowski took full advantage, picking off positions on each restart. On lap 417, he wedged his way under teammate Joey Logano and the two raced side-by-side for the next two laps before take the lead on lap 419. Keselowski led the next 41 laps and built up a three second lead before the eighth and final caution on lap 458 wiped out his advantage.
- Keselowski pitted one lap later for four tires and lined up third for the final restart on lap 463. He closed in on Logano for the lead, riding just inches off his rear bumper. But despite his best effort, Keselowski couldn’t find a way past then faded down the stretch as he struggled on the longer run and was credited with a fifth-place finish.
Quote: “We had a good run today in the Thomas Built Buses Ford Fusion. We were really good on the short runs but we struggled a little bit on the long runs and it just didn’t end up playing out there for us at the end. It is good to see Joey (Logano) get to victory lane. I’m happy for everyone at Team Penske.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!