No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
Stage 1: 10th
Stage 2: 32nd
Laps Completed: 203/203
Laps Led: 6
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 3rd (-73)
- Brad Keselowski rallied from a lap down to score a sixth-place finish in the FireKeepers Casino 400 Monday evening at Michigan International Speedway. Keselowski used his eighth top-10 finish of the season to climb up to third-place in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings, 73 behind leader Joey Logano.
- A persistent light rain pushed the start of the race from Sunday to late Monday afternoon. Keselowski, who started eighth, battled a loose-handling Miller Lite Ford Mustang during Stage 1 before scoring a 10th-place finish when the segment concluded on lap 60. He pitted for four tires during the stage caution on lap 63 and lined up seventh when the race went green on lap 67.
- The balance of Keselowski’s No. 2 Ford Mustang was greatly improved during Stage 2. He was running fourth when he made a scheduled green flag pit stop on lap 113, seven laps from the finish of the segment. But the team was penalized for a safety violation on the stop and Keselowski was forced to serve a pass-thru penalty under green on lap 118, dropping him a lap down and shuffling him back to 32nd-place when the stage ended on lap 120. He made a four-tire stop during the stage caution on lap 124 and lined up 32nd when the race went green on lap 127.
- Keselowski caught a break on lap 131 when the fifth caution gave him the free pass back to the lead lap. He pitted for four tires and fuel during the caution and restarted 29th on lap 134. From there, the driver of the Miller Lite Ford steadily worked his way through traffic and back in contention for a good finish. He had climbed up to 12th-place by lap 170 with the balance on his Mustang leaning to being just a bit free on entry into Turn 2. The final cycle of pit stops began on lap 173 and crew chief Paul Wolfe made the call for his driver to stay on the track. Keselowski cycled into the lead on lap 176 and he held the top spot for six laps before making a green flag stop on lap 182 for fuel only. When the sequence was over on lap 186, Keselowski was running seventh.
- The seventh and final caution slowed the pace on lap 196 and pushed the finish of the event into NASCAR Overtime, a two-lap sprint to the finish. He restarted eighth on lap 201 scrambled his way up to sixth, edging Kevin Harvick by a fender for the spot at the checkered flag.
Quotes: “We just didn’t put it all together today. We were in a really good spot and then had the pit road penalty and lost the lap. It took us until about 70 to go to get it back. It’s kind of a miracle that we got back up to sixth to be quite honest. With a yellow we might have had a shot at winning it. I thought the team did a good job with the strategy all day. The cars when they get behind each other they make the car in front of them faster. If you go back 20-30 years ago that was not the case. You would draft but you wouldn’t make the car in front of you faster. Now it seems like when you get up behind somebody you make them faster, too.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!