Keselowski Fades in Last-Lap Dash For Daytona 500

By: Zach Catanzareti, Staff Writer

In his 13th Daytona 500, Brad Keselowski did not score win No. 1 in the Great American Race Sunday at Daytona International Speedway.

Restarting fourth in an overtime finish in the sport’s crown jewel, Keselowski attempted to steal the win from the very car he piloted for the past 11 years in the NASCAR Cup Series, the No. 2 Team Penske Ford and rookie Austin Cindric.

Driving his co-owned Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing Ford for the first time, the veteran, leading the outside lane, got squeezed by Chase Briscoe as the field rushed to the checkered flag off Turn 4.

The contact forced Keselowski to the middle lane, losing six positions before triggering a multi-car crash past the start-finish line.

“I thought down the backstretch we were gonna win the race,” Keselowski said, finishing ninth. “The Nos. 12 and 2 [Ryan Blaney and Cindric] got a really good push from the No. 23 [Bubba Wallace] and basically cleared our lane and then our lane kind of broke up there at the end. It was really close, just green-white-checkers.”

After winning his Duel qualifier Thursday night, Keselowski was among the favorites to shine in Sunday’s season opener. Spending much time up front on the day, Keselowski’s 67 laps led were the most led by a Roush car in nearly eight years.

The performance, though impressive even for a champion, was overshadowed by accidents caused by his bump drafting. The No. 6 driver sparked the day’s most spectacular accident on lap 63, spinning Ford mate Harrison Burton, leading the rookie to flip.

Later with five laps to go, Keselowski turned Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in similar fashion off Turn 4. This all came before he tipped off the final-lap crash past the checkered flag.

In regards to the accident with Burton:

“I was just pushing and it just turned [Burton] sideways and spun immediately out,” he said. “I don’t know what happened there. It was a shame to see it. I hate it for him, I was trying to help him win the stage and certainly didn’t want to see him spin out.”

And regards to the contact with Stenhouse:

“The same thing. I was just pushing. We weren’t even all the way up to speed, so I feel like it was a crazy time to be pushing, but obviously the results say different.”

Leaving Daytona with a car well intact for Daytona standards, the first-year driver-owner still wanted more.

“Whenever somebody spins out obviously there’s somebody [who is being] over aggressive,” he said. “I hate that the No. 17 [teammate Chris Buescher] got torn up. I was trying to give Stenhouse a push there and I thought we could settle it amongst us three and clear with the top lane, but it didn’t come together.”

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