Track: Atlanta Motor Speedway
Race: Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500
Date: February 24, 2019
No. 2 Autotrader Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
Stage 1: 11th
Stage 2: 12th
Laps Completed: 325/325
Laps Led: 33
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 6th (-15)
- Brad Keselowski held off a fast closing Martin Truex Jr. to win the Folds of Honor QuickTrip 500 Sunday afternoon at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Keselowski became the all-time winningest driver in Team Penske history with the victory, his 60th overall since joining the organization, surpassing Mark Donohue. The victory was Keselowski’s first of the 2019 season and his second in 11 Cup series races at Atlanta. He also gave Mustang its first victory in the Cup series.
- That Keselowski was physically able to compete on Sunday afternoon was an impressive accomplishment. On Saturday afternoon, Keselowski missed much of the final practice session due to flu-like symptoms but was able to make two runs toward the end of the session. Keselowski was able to recover overnight and ran the 500-mile race on Sunday as scheduled.
- The driver of the Autotrader Ford Mustang started 19th in the 325-lap race and steadily worked his way through the field during Stage 1. He finished 11th when the segment concluded on lap 85.
- During Stage 2, Keselowski continue to climb up the leaderboard. He was up to fifth-place when he made a scheduled green flag pit stop on lap 126 for four tires. But during the stop the jack broke, costing Keselowski precious seconds on pit road and positions on the track. He recovered and was able to finish 12th when the stage ended on lap 170.
- Keselowski restarted 13th when the race went green on lap 177.Once again he steadily worked his way through the field and was up to eighth position when the fourth caution slowed the race on lap 223. As the laps ticked away, the balance on the No. 2 Mustang was more free, which translated into more speed. He was third when he made a scheduled four-tire stop under green on lap 270. Four laps later the caution waved in the midst of the green flag cycle of stops. Keselowski was the first car one lap down and received the free pass back onto the lead lap. He pitted for four tires on lap 278 during the caution and restarted third when the race went green.
- From there, Keselowski simply drove to the front. He took the lead from Joey Logano on lap 293 and steadily pulled away from the field. But as the race entered its closing laps, Martin Truex Jr. loomed larger and larger in Keselowski’s rearview mirror. Truex Jr. caught Keselowski on the final lap of the race but couldn’t find a way past, with Keselowski beating his rival to the checkered flag by two car lengths (officially measured at .218 seconds).
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!