Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Keselowski Continues to Excel With Kansas Runner-Up
Brad Keselowski has been the best performer in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series through 11 races in 2017. Two wins, seven top-fives, and nine top-10 finishes at this point of the season is an impressive feat, and his success continued Saturday night at Kansas Speedway.
Perseverance has defined the No. 2 Ford team’s year.
Before capturing their first victory at Atlanta, the Team Penske driver overcame pitting twice under the final caution of the day due to loose lug nuts.
Contact on the start and a spin a couple laps later produced adversity right out of the gate at Auto Club Speedway, but the team rebounded and came home second.
The 33-year-old again showed
resilience at Kansas after an unexpected pit stop due to a loose wheel and a penalty for driving through too many pit stalls mired the 2012 series champion to the rear of the field halfway through the race.
However, he restarted fourth on the final restart with two laps to go and finished second for the third time this season.
Keselowski had collected a series-leading 12 playoff points heading into Kansas before Martin Truex Jr.’s win bumped his total to 15.
Those points will be crucial in each playoff round, and by collecting now, Keselowski is looking further his team’s playoff run. Last season, a blown engine eliminated them prematurely after Talladega.
In the four mile-and-a-half races this season, his worst finish was sixth at Texas. At the one-mile Phoenix Raceway where performing well is critical as it’s the penultimate race of the season, he finished fifth.
A win at Martinsville and seventh-place finish at Talladega shows his ability to flourish through unpredictability and versatility which will be essential as both tracks host races deep in the playoffs.
His last three performances have also been without crew chief Paul Wolfe as he served his suspension. Despite his absence, the No. 2 team relied on their solid infrastructure to maintain successful results.
Now with Wolfe back and the next three tracks on the schedule being places where Keselowski has won before, look for him to maintain his strength heading into the summer stretch.
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