Track: Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course
Race: Bank of America ROVAL 400
Date: September 29, 2019
No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
Stage 1: 6th
Stage 2: 2nd
Laps Completed: 109/109
Laps Led: 3
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 7th (-22)
- Brad Keselowski passed Martin Truex Jr. with two laps to go to score a fifth-place finish in the Bank of America ROVAL 400 Sunday evening at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course. Keselowski claimed his third top-five in three NASCAR Playoffs races this season and will advance to the Round of 12. The driver of the Alliance Truck Parts Ford Mustang claimed his best finish in two starts at the 2.32-mile racetrack. The 109-lap race was held in unusually warm weather conditions, with the temperature in the low 90s on Sunday afternoon, creating brutal conditions for drivers and crew members. Keselowski claimed his 12th top-five of the season and enters the Round of 12 seventh in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings, 22 points behind leader Kyle Busch.
- Keselowski earned the 11th-place starting position during qualifying on Friday afternoon at Charlotte. He finished sixth in the first 25-lap stage, just behind teammates Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney, with crew chief Paul Wolfe informing his driver that most of the time lost was in the chicanes. Keselowski didn’t pit during the stage caution and restarted second when the race went green on lap 27.
- On lap 32, Keselowski radioed the team that he had flat-spotted a tire and immediately pitted under green for four tires and returned to the track in 33rd position. The third caution on lap 43 brought most of the leaders to pit road but Keselowski stayed on the track. He moved up to sixth for the restart on lap 44. Keselowski moved up to second-place one lap later and then grabbed the lead from Clint Bowyer on lap 46. But try as he might, Keselowski couldn’t hold off a fast closing Chase Elliott, who found a way around the No. 2 Mustang with just two laps remaining in Stage 2. Keselowski finished second, stayed out during the stage caution and restarted second when the race went green on lap 54.
- Keselowski stayed in second position until lap 67. He was running third when he made a scheduled green flag stop for four tires on lap 74, which kicked off a cycle of stops among the leaders. When the sequence was complete, Keselowski was sixth in the running order. Wolfe called his driver to pit road decided to pit under the seventh caution on lap 90 for four tires and plus an air pressure adjustment, a move that gave Keselowski fresher tires than his competitors for the stretch run. He lined up 11th when the race went green on lap 91.
- Three cautions (plus a red flag delay for track clean up) didn’t allow Keselowski to take full advantage of the fresher tires. He did work his way up to sixth position as the race entered its closing laps. On lap 108 he passed Martin Truex Jr. for the fifth-place when Truex’s car wiggled off Turn 17.
Quotes: “That was a hot race, pretty miserable, but we got through with a decent finish in the Alliance Truck Parts Ford and made the most with what we had. You could pass, you just had to be super, super fast and the No. 9 car (Chase Elliott) was that. We had newer tires than everybody, but it didn’t really matter. The No. 9 car was so much faster than everyone. He passed everybody on old tires. I don’t know what they had, but we need to come back with that.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!