Strategic call can’t save Brad Keselowski’s Playoff hopes

Brad Keselowski desperately needed a caution in a race that produced only three—for two stage finishes and a blown engine.

Knowing Keselowski didn’t have the speed in his No. 2 Team Penske Ford to win Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 heads-up, crew chief Paul Wolfe kept Keselowski on the track until the end of two successive fuel runs, hoping to catch a caution and leap-frog the cars that had already stopped.

But the caution never came, and Keselowski’s eventual sixth-place finish wasn’t enough to earn a berth in the Round of 8 of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.

“I would say about the end of that first stage it was pretty obvious that we needed something, after I saw some things on the other cars,” Keselowski said. “We needed something to step up, but it just wasn’t there. We just weren’t as good today as we were (Saturday in practice) and I’m not sure why. Everyone else seemed to find a little from practice and we were about the same, maybe a little worse than we were in practice.

“I’m proud of what we did down the stretch of the year. We won three races and did all that. I feel like we can go win Martinsville next week, so I’m excited about that. But, of course, the ultimate goal is to win a championship and we won’t have an opportunity to do that this year.”

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