By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
The last two weeks have been dismal for former Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion Brad Keselowski. At both Charlotte and Dover, he crashed out early. As the series headed to Pocono Raceway for the Pocono 400, Keselowski was looking to turn his luck around.
In the first practice, Keselowski showed speed in his No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion, placing himself sixth on the speed charts. The Team Penske driver also qualified sixth. Crew chief Paul Wolfe worked on the car, improving Keselowski to second in the final practice.
Stage 1 got off to a quick start. Keselowski and Wolfe elected to pit early in the run with most the field. When those who stayed on track finally pitted, Keselowski climbed back up the running order. When Stage 1 ended, Keselowski was third, earning eight Championship Points.
Stage 2 was just as quick as Stage 1, nearly going caution-free. With five laps to go in the stage, simultaneous brake failures for Jimmie Johnson and Jamie McMurray brought out the caution and ultimately a red flag.
The race went back green with two laps left in the stage. In the chaotic run to the end of Stage 2, Keselowski slipped backwards. He finished the stage in seventh, gaining four more Championship Points.
The final stage was also fast as it started with a 40-lap green flag run. Keselowski, like much of the field pitted almost as soon as the window opened to allow him to make it to the finish.
Keselowski hovered just outside the top five as the race wound down.
After the final restart with 12 laps to go, Keselowski finally moved back into the top five. When the race ended, he found himself fifth. This is Keselowski’s eighth top five of the season, and 83rd of his career. He moved up to fifth in the Championship Points standings, 130 points behind points leader Martin Truex, Jr.
Keselowski explained that he messed up on the restart,
“I just didn’t get enough go on the restart, which was a bummer. I don’t know, I feel like I probably could have won it if I had just gotten that launch. Kyle got a great launch. He went a tiny bit before the line, but not enough to where NASCAR was gonna call it, and I didn’t get the launch I needed.”
After the end of the race, Keselowski donned a headset and microphone, joining the NASCAR on FOX broadcast team, and interviewed race winner Ryan Blaney.
Now Keselowski will try to carry his momentum back to his home track, Michigan International Speedway.