Keselowski able to advance to championship four at Homestead

Nigel Kinrade/NKPPhoto

By Caleb Whisler, Staff Writer

The weekend at Phoenix Raceway for Brad Keselowski and his No. 2 Team Penske Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team was not what they wanted. However, luck was on their side as they will move on to the championship four at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Throughout the weekend, the No. 2 Ford team did not show their strength as an organization. In qualifying on Friday, Keselowski posted the 16th fastest speed. The struggles transferred into the race.

During the first stage of the race, Keselowski was having problems with turning the car off the bottom of the racetrack. Paul Wolfe, Keselowski’s crew chief, was trying to help his driver diagnose what the issue was. Keselowski finished the first stage in the 17th position.

During the second stage, Keselowski was told that he was running better lap times during the race. As the second stage was winding down, Keselowski was beginning to feel a vibration. He was able to scoundrel up a 13th place finish in the stage.

Throughout the final stage, Keselowski was asking his crew to keep him updated on what the championship picture looked like throughout. For most of the stage, Keselowski was out of the championship picture because Denny Hamlin was leading the race. When Hamlin wrecked out of the race, Keselowski had to only worry about Chase Elliott.

Elliott was able to grab the lead on lap 284. Elliott was in a must-win situation going into the weekend. Luckily, for Keselowski, Matt Kenseth was able to pass Elliott with 10 laps remaining. When Kenseth made the pass on Elliott and went on to the win, Keselowski was the fourth and final driver to lock himself into the playoff picture.

“We overcame a lot of obstacles and jumped a lot of hurdles today. I am glad I don’t have to relive this day, that is for sure. I am just looking forward to going to Homestead. This feels a little bit like Christmas. Sometimes you need a little luck on your side. Today we had that,” said Keselowski post-race. “It wasn’t by any means where we wanted to run. We wanted to run up front and have a shot for the win. That wasn’t in the cards. We tried to run the smartest race we could and survive and it ended up paying off in the end.”

At the end of the day, Keselowski was proud of the way his team was able to face the adversity of the weekend and advance into the championship picture.

“Homestead is a lot different than Phoenix. Hopefully we can find what we need to run up front there and catch some breaks and win it. I am very hopeful for that. I am proud of the whole team. We had a solid day of not making any mistakes and that put us in position here. It was a great team effort.”

Despite the weakened issues, Keselowski was able to find a 16th place finish at Phoenix Raceway.

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