No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
Stage 1: 3rd
Stage 2: 27th
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 66
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 6th (-138)
- A late-race stop for fuel robbed Brad Keselowski of a top-five finish in the Consumers Energy 400 Sunday afternoon at Michigan International Speedway. Keselowski was running third when he stopped for a splash of fuel 11 laps from the finish, leaving him with a 19th-place finish. The driver of the Discount Tire Ford remains sixth in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings, 138 points behind leader Kyle Busch.
- Keselowski kicked off his weekend at Michigan by winning the pole position on Friday afternoon. His sizzling lap of 37.801 seconds, 190.471 mph around the 2.0-mile track gave him his 16th pole in 364 Cup races, his second of the 2019 season and second in 21 starts at Michigan.
- Keselowski led the first 39 laps of the 200-lap race but as the run progressed, the No. 2 Mustang began to push on corner exit. He was running second when he made a scheduled green flag stop on lap 42 for four tires and a track bar adjustment. When the cycle was complete, Keselowski was fourth in the running order. He passed teammate Joey Logano on the final lap of Stage 1 to claim a third-place finish despite wrestling a car that was loose in the center of the corners. Crew chief Paul Wolfe made the call for right-side tires and fuel during the stage caution on lap 63. Excellent work by the No. 2 Crew gave Keselowski the lead when the race went green on lap 66.
- Keselowski led the next 18 laps and engaged in an entertaining duel with Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin for the lead. But as the laps ticked away, the loose-handling condition returned, shuffling Keselowski back to fourth-place in the running order before a sequence of green flag pit stops began on lap 107. He cycled into the lead on lap 109 before Wolfe made the call to pit one lap later for four tires and a track back adjustment. Keselowski was seventh when the pit cycle was complete on lap 114.
- On lap 117, Keselowski spun in Turn 4, thanks to an inner valve stem on the right-rear tire being knocked out. The driver of the Discount Tire Ford made a highlight-reel caliber move to keep his Mustang out of the wall in Turn 3 before he spun in Turn 4. He immediately pitted for four tires and restarted 30th on lap 119. Keselowski gained three positions during the one-lap dash to the finish of Stage 2, clawing his way back on to the lead lap. He pitted during the stage caution on lap 124 for four tires and fuel and took the green on lap 127 in 26th position.
- He steadily worked his way through traffic and by lap 143 was back inside the top-10. Keselowski was up to ninth-place by lap 145 and said the balance on the Discount Tire Ford was the best it had been all afternoon. Wolfe called his driver to pit road on lap 150 during the sixth and final caution for a fuel-only stop, giving Keselowski second position for the restart on lap 152. He settled into third position by lap 155 and stayed there until his fuel tank ran dry on lap 189, 11 laps from the finish. The visit to pit road 22 miles from the checkered flag left Keselowski with a 19th-place in the final rundown.
Quotes: “Man, I want this one so bad. We got that flat tire early on and we recovered and got up to third there in the late stages and then we just ran out of gas. That is just the way it goes sometimes.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!