HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Quite frankly, Brad Keselowski didn’t have the car to add a second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series title to his 2012 championship without a strategic miracle.
Accordingly, on Lap 197 of 267, Keselowski and crew chief Paul Wolfe forced the issue by short-pitting after 32 laps of green-flag racing. After Keselowski brought his No. 2 Team Penske Ford to pit road, Championship 4 drivers Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick followed two laps later. Kyle Busch stayed on track, planning to bridge the final 102 laps with one pit stop.
But a caution on Lap 227 for Kurt Busch’s spin in Turn 4 bunched the title contenders for a restart on Lap 234, and Keselowski finished seventh 34 laps later, as Martin Truex Jr. won the Ford Eco-Boost 400 and the championship.
“We ran as hard as we could and put it all out there and just basically didn’t have enough speed,” Keselowski said. “On the mile-and-a-halves we weren’t as good as the 78 (Truex) and 18 (Kyle Busch) and those guys. This last race coming down to a mile-and-a-half (speedway) didn’t particularly bode well for us, but my team ran as hard as they could run.
“They made some great calls—Paul Wolfe and everybody—and put ourselves in position every chance we could to make the most out of the opportunities that existed without just being lightning fast, but it wasn’t there.”