On a day filled with pitfalls and points-robbing sour luck, Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Discount Tire team overcame misfortune to keep his NASCAR Cup Series Championship 4 playoff hopes alive. Keselowski finished 17th but leaves Kansas Speedway just six points below the fourth-place cutoff position in the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings, entering next week’s event at Martinsville Speedway.
Stage 1 couldn’t have gone worse for Keselowski, as the former Champion was running ninth when he brushed against the outside wall on lap 32 and pitted under green six laps later due to a cut tire, dropping him two laps down. Keselowski would go on to finish the stage in the 30th position, after which he would pit for four tires plus damage repair.
Keselowski didn’t make up significant ground during Stage 2, but the balance on the Discount Tire Ford Mustang greatly improved thanks to the overcast weather conditions and adjustments by crew chief Jeremy Bullins. He was credited with a 27th-place finish when the segment ended on lap 160. Bullins and Keselowski made the call to pass on the opportunity to pit during the stage caution and take the wave around. Keselowski restarted 22nd one lap down on lap 167.
The third and final stage was anything but boring for the Discount Tire team. Keselowski twice worked his way into the free pass position as the first car one lap down, but a timely yellow flag never waved. On a positive note, the Discount Tire Ford received damage from contact with a lapped car to begin the stage, but the team was able to quickly make repairs and continue. As the race entered its closing laps, Keselowski was once again in the free pass position, but the race remained green until the end, leaving the driver of the Discount Tire Ford with a 17th-place finish.
“That was a heck of a race. We are all just fighting too hard. I am bummed I didn’t get more out of it. I had a heck of an opportunity to score a lot of points and make next week easy, but we still aren’t in a bad spot, just not as good a spot as we could be,” Keselowski said. “The Discount Tire Ford was really good in the cooler air and the sun came out and it affected our pace. We got damage and we still had decent speed when the sun was behind the clouds, but we couldn’t get it to stay there.”