No. 2 Wurth Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
Stage 1: 12th
Stage 2: 9th
Laps Completed: 399/400
Laps Led: 0
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 6th (-43)
Brad Keselowski scored an 11th-place finish in the Drydene 400 Sunday afternoon at Dover International Speedway. The driver of the Wurth Ford Mustang leaves Dover sixth in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings, 43 points behind leader Martin Truex Jr. and 20 ahead of the eighth-place cutoff position.
Keselowski qualified 16th and spent much of the Stage 1 running just outside the top-10, battling a tight handling condition during the first run. He pitted under green on lap 78 for four tires and air pressure adjustments. The changes improved the balance on the No. 2 Mustang on the short run but the tight conditioned returned late in the run. Keselowski was credited with a 12th-place when the first stage ended on lap 120. He made a stop during the stage caution on lap 123 for four tires and a chassis adjustment. Speedy service on the pit lane by the No. 2 crew moved Keselowski up to 10th-place when the race went green on lap 127.
He fell in line 11th on the restart and remained there until he made another green flag stop on lap 185 for four tires and air pressure adjustments. Quick work on the pit lane moved Keselowski up to ninth-place after the cycle was complete and he held firm to the position until Stage 2 ended on lap 240. He pitted under the stage caution on lap 244 for four tires and thanks to another quick stop by the Wurth team, Keselowski moved up to eighth position. But before the race went green, Keselowski made slight contact with Clint Bowyer’s car on the backstretch while cleaning his tires for the restart, putting a wrinkle in the right-rear corner of the No. 2 Mustang.
He restarted eighth on lap 248 but as the run progressed the Wurth Ford was still struggling to turn. Keselowski was running 11th when another cycle of green flag stops began. Crew chief Paul Wolfe called his driver to pit road on lap 319 for another four-tire stop under green. He emerged from the pit sequence in ninth-position, thanks to another solid stop by his team.
As the laps ticked off and the race neared conclusion, Keselowski fought hard to stay ahead of race leader Kyle Larson – perhaps a bit too hard. Larson found a way by Keselowski on lap 361 and brought along both Kurt Busch and Bowyer as well, dropping him back to 11th. Keselowski radioed the team and said that he had simply pushed too hard early in the run, punishing the front tires in the process. He was credited with 11th-place finish the final rundown.
Quote: “We had an okay day. We held serve. We came into the weekend 19 points up on the cutoff and we leave 20 points up with two big races in front of us. If we can have a great day at Talladega it would be huge. We just didn’t have the speed most of the weekend that we wanted to have.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!