No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
Stage 1: 6th
Stage 2: 16th
Laps Completed: 277/277
Laps Led: 2
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 9th (Eliminated from Playoffs)
- Brad Keselowski missed advancing to the Round of 8 in the NASCAR Playoffs Sunday afternoon at Kansas Speedway. The playoff fortunes for the driver of the Discount Tire Ford Mustang seesawed back and forth multiple times in the closing laps of the race between he and Chase Elliott but when the dust finally settled, Keselowski was eliminated from the playoffs by just three points.
- Keselowski started fourth and ran well during Stage 1. As the 80-lap segment drew to a close, the balance on the No. 2 Mustang was free on corner entry and tight on exit. He was ninth when the first caution slowed the pace on lap 76. Keselowski pitted one lap later for fuel and tires and used a good restart on lap 78 to claim a sixth-place finish when the segment concluded. Crew chief Paul Wolfe made the call to stay on the track during the stage caution and Keselowski restarted fourth when the race went green on lap 86.
- During the next run, Keselowski said the balance on his Mustang was still free on both ends on the track and felt like it was sliding the right-rear through the corners. He was ninth when the third caution on lap 117 gave him a chance to pit for four tires and more adjustments. He recovered but still had his hands full as the balance on the No. 2 Ford shifted to being too tight in the center of the corners. Keselowski was credited with a 16th-place finish when Stage 2 ended on lap 160. He pitted during the stage caution for four tires plus tape on the nose and restarted 14th when the Stage 3 went green on lap 166.
- As the laps ticked away in the final stage, it became clear that the final transfer spot into the Round of 8 would be decided between Keselowski and Elliott. Keselowski said his car was jumping between “super-loose and super-tight” and he was mired back in 16th position. Elliott, meanwhile, ran just inside the top-10 but still trailed Keselowski by a handful of points.
- Keselowski made a scheduled stop under green on lap 216 for four tires and a track bar adjustment. Once the pit cycle was complete, he fell a lap down to the leaders. A caution for debris on lap 254 gave Keselowski the chance to take the wave around and rejoin the lead lap. He restarted 19th on lap 258, nine laps from the finish, three points ahead of Elliott.
- With just two laps to go, the sixth caution waved for an accident on the backstretch. Keselowski pitted for four tires one lap later and restarted 15th for the restart in NASCAR Overtime. He was running 13th and three points ahead of Elliott when the final caution waved on lap 271, a split-second before race leader Hamlin crossed the finish line, which set up another restart and dash to the finish.
- Keselowski took the green flag in 13th position and nothing appeared to go his way during the final dash to the finish. He went to the middle at the entrance to Turn 1 and was promptly boxed-in by heavy traffic. Moments later Keselowski and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. rubbed fenders as he was fighting through traffic. On the final lap he bounced off the wall in Turn 2 trying to find a hole in traffic on the outside. He crossed the finish line 19th while Elliott place second to advance in the Playoffs.
Quotes: “We didn’t make it. I pushed as hard as I knew how and didn’t quite do good enough on the last restart and that was it. We clawed as hard as we could and there were times it looked like we were going to be fine and times it didn’t. In the end it didn’t work out.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!