By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
A late charge for the lead left Brad Keselowski fading in the Federated Auto Parts 400. The Team Penske driver plummeted from having a chance to win four races in a row to ninth in the final 40 laps at Richmond Raceway.
After the final restart, Keselowski battled eventual race winner Kyle Busch for the lead. It took 10 laps for his No. 2 Reese / DrawTite Ford Fusion take the lead from Busch. However, Keselowski couldn’t break away from Busch, who hounded him for the next 20 laps.
On lap 364, Keselowski’s car began to fade, as Busch cruised to the lead. Over the final 36 laps, he dropped from the lead to take the checkered flag in ninth.
Keselowski’s Ford came to life at the beginning of Stage 2. Between two cycles of green flag pits stops, and a lengthy battle with Busch, he was in front of the field for 67 laps. Prior to the end of Stage 2, Keselowski had been running just inside the top-five. He finished the first two stages in third and fifth respectively.
“We had a lot of short run speed and I knew that was our chance to win the race there and we ran it pretty hard and it didn’t quite work out,” Keselowski said. “We didn’t quite catch the breaks we needed there. Burned off the rear tires. We ran good but we still have some things to work on.”
The ninth-place finish is the 16th Top-10 finish for Keselowski this season. However, he still slips from third to fourth on the Playoff Grid, 30-Points behind Points Leader Martin Truex, Jr.
Keselowski is locked into the Round of 12 via his win last weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He joins Busch, Truex, and Kevin Harvick as drivers that will not have to worry about points at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval next weekend.