By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
Brad Keselowski will have to wait another year in his quest for a second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship. Keselowski was close his rivals in the Championship Four all night long, but never had the speed. He ended up fourth in the Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway when the checkered flag waved.
Throughout much of the Ford EcoBoost 400, Keselowski was towards the rear of the those in the Championship picture. His No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion briefly led his competitors before fading backward. While eventual Champion Martin Truex, Jr.’s Toyota Camry came to life when the race shifted from day to night, Keselowski’s seemed to have peaked. The entire last run of the race, he ran seventh, the only Championship Four driver to finish outside of the top-five.
Keselowski wouldn’t change much, if anything, if he had the chance to do it over again.
“There’s not a lot that comes to mind,” said Keselowski. “I had one pit stop where I didn’t get in the box perfect, but that’s about all I wish I could change from today. Other than that, I feel like I left it all out there and ran a damn near perfect race, but we just didn’t have enough speed.”
The strength of the 2012 NASCAR Premier Series Champion’s car was evident the entire race. However, the other Championship Four drivers had equally strong cars. Keselowski’s Team Penske organization had struggled on 1.5-mile tracks late in the season, and that was evident tonight. Truex, the winningest driver on 1.5-mile tracks was just no match for Keselowski.
Keselowski was disappointed that he couldn’t run any harder.
“We ran as hard as we could and put it all out there and just basically didn’t have enough speed,” he added. “On the mile-and-a-halves we weren’t as good as the 78 and 18 and those guys. This last race coming down to a mile-and-a-half didn’t particularly bode well for us, but my team ran as hard as they could run. They made some great calls – Paul Wolfe and everybody and put ourselves in position every chance we could to make the most out of the opportunities that existed without just being lightning fast, but it wasn’t there.”
Keselowski’s 2017 season was still a success, despite not winning the championship. He earned three victories at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Martinsville Speedway, and Talladega Superspeedway. Keselowski also earned 15 top-fives, 21 top-10s, and two pole positions.
Looking forward to next year, Keselowski wants more speed.
“We’ve just got to be faster. We can’t show up and be that far behind on the mile-and-a-halves. We know that. That Toyota car is a good ways in front of us and we’ve got to figure that out.”
For now, Keselowski, his crew chief Paul Wolfe, and the entire Team Penske organization can relax and prepare for Daytona in February.