By David Morgan, NASCAR Editor
CONCORD, N.C. – It’s been a whirlwind 24 hours for Team Penske. Not only did they win Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 with Will Power, they also had the opportunity to sweep the NASCAR weekend at Charlotte with Brad Keselowski.
However, the weekend sweep was not to be for Keselowski and his No. 2 team as he finished fourth in the Coca-Cola 600.
“I ran as hard as I could tonight and the team did a great job the last few stops to put us in a position and that was just kind of what we had,” said Keselowski. “We’ll go back to the drawing board and try to find some more speed. If we keep this execution that we had tonight, then we’ll get some wins, but we’ve got to have more speed.”
Keselowski started the night in fifth place, battling a loose car in the early laps of the marathon race, but handling issues were the least of his problems when the leaders hit pit road under caution on lap 86. He would miss his pit box, forcing him to have to restart at the front of the field as the only car without fresh rubber, which made him a sitting duck.
When the green flag flew on the restart, Keselowski dropped like a rock back through the field, nearly causing a wreck as those with newer tires had to work to evade his car that was quickly falling backwards. By the time the first stage was complete, he found himself all the way back in 26th.
Keselowski would fall a lap down in stage two during green flag pit stops, but managed to get back on the lead lap with the lucky dog at the end of the stage. With a little pit of pit strategy from crew chief Paul Wolfe, Keselowski advanced all the way up to second place under the stage three caution.
Though he had his best shot at the lead all night, the Toyotas were too strong for him down the stretch and he would have to settle for a fourth-place finish instead, banking his third top-five of the season.
“I thought the 78 was really strong, him and the 18 were probably pretty close,” he said of the Toyotas. “I don’t know, he had some kind of issues that kept holding him back, but they were just in another league.”