By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
Brad Keselowski had quite an extraordinary day in Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 235. Even saying that about the fifth-place finisher could be viewed as an understatement.
“It was just one of those never-give-up kind of races. We just fought and fought and fought and just made some mistakes, caught some bad breaks, kind of all threw together,” said Keselowski. “But, in the end, just a lot of perseverance, a lot of heart, a lot of will from the entire team and put us in a good spot there at the end, so tried to make the most of it.
“We’re not where we need to be on these types of tracks, but we’re not gonna accept that and just run 15th-20th, we’re gonna fight our butt off and I think that’s what we did today.”
For much of the 70-lap race, Keselowski’s No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang was all over the place. Whether it’s multiple lock ups or getting caught up in incidents, escaping with a top-five was no easy task.
With the racing winding down and the driver’s patience levels out the window, the 2012 champ found a way to keep his foot on his toes. To some people’s eyes, it maybe viewed as a shocker considering the adventures he endured.
One of them being turned around by a hot Kurt Busch in Turn 1. Busch was the leader earlier until he hopped the curbs, resulting in a spin. Perhaps the frustration boiled over and it came at the expense of Keselowski.
Fortunately, he wasn’t hit from anyone else and got his car back rolling. It didn’t meant his hell ended as he had a determined Chase Elliott gunning for fourth in the closing laps.
Coming into Turn 6, Keselowski felt the bump from Elliott, but the latter got help. Denny Hamlin tapped into the defending road course winner, sending him into a spin and was out of contention.
As Christopher Bell went on to win for the first time in the Cup Series, Keselowski ultimately scored his first top-five result of 2021. After everything he went through the past two Daytona races, it certainly felt like a win in some capacity.
“It didn’t seem to matter what I’d do. If I saved the tires, we’d just get ran over from behind,” Keselowski on the closing laps. “If I’d run them hard, they’d lock up so it was just frustrating. In the end, we put ourselves in position for something good to happen to us and it did, and I’m really proud of that.”
After two races, Keselowski currently sits 10th in points which puts him 40 markers behind points leader and third-place finisher Denny Hamlin.