By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
Team Penske’s shortcomings didn’t end with INDYCAR at Detroit. It continued in the NASCAR All-Star Race as Brad Keselowski finished second at Texas Motor Speedway.
Ironically, a Penske driver representing the No. 2 machine lost to the man who piloted a No. 5 Chevrolet. Earlier it was Pato O’Ward beating Josef Newgarden. Hours later, it was Kyle Larson who bested Keselowski, especially when the race mattered most.
Keselowski had a noble day, but once track position fell into his favor, his No. 2 Discount Tire. Especially in the penultimate segment where he briefly led. Then a caution from Ryan Newman getting Ross Chastain sideways that led to a subsequent spin halted the action.
BK had just made his mandatory green flag pit stop when the yellow came out. Certainly, it was a huge sigh of relief for the No. 2 crew. Even greater when he was ahead of Chase Elliott. His lead wouldn’t last long when the race restarted and crossed the line in fifth.
It wasn’t over as Keselowski wouldn’t give up without a fight as seen in the final 10 laps. A Turn 3 battle between Larson and Elliott nearly went disastrous. No big deal for Keselowski, who took the lead from them on Lap 92. However, Larson rallied back and took command for good, winning his second All-Star Race.
For Keselowski, it was his third runner-up finish in the million-dollar event. Not the outcome he’d hope, but the 2012 Cup Series champion noted how strong Hendrick Motorsports were all Sunday.
“It feels like running second to the Hendrick cars right now is an accomplishment. They are just stupid fast,” said Keselowski after the race.
“I had him off turn 4 but they just have so much speed. He just motored right back by me, like damn! It feels like a first-in-class day with the Discount Tired Ford. The team did a great job of executing and getting us in position, we just didn’t have enough speed to make the most of it. It was good execution day though and I am proud of that.”
Keselowski added that even with the All-Star Race package, there’s nothing that could’ve been done to stop HMS.
“You can’t draft those Hendrick cars. They are so fast. We have work to do,” Keselowski stated. “I feel like my team really executed the race very well and got us in position, we just didn’t have the raw speed we needed to close it out. I felt like we made some great moves, it just wasn’t enough.”
The next stop for the Cup Series will be at Nashville Superspeedway for the inaugural Ally 400 next Sunday.
Keselowski is no stranger to the Lebanon track. In fact, he captured his maiden Xfinity Series victory in 2008, driving for JR Motorsports. It was that victory where the Michigan native slowly began his rise towards the NASCAR ladder.