Brad Keselowski thought his Playoff run would continue when he came to pit road for fresh tires before the first of two overtimes in Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway.
Keselowski would have been fine, had a wreck out of Turn 4 in the first overtime not caused a caution with eventual race winner Denny Hamlin less than a car-length from the white flag and an official race.
Keselowski restarted 13th for the second overtime but got bottled up on in the middle of the pack, brushed the backstretch wall on the final lap and faded to 19th at the finish. Chase Elliott, who restarted third and finished second, edged Keselowski for the final berth in the Round of 8 of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs by a scant three points.
“We didn’t make it,” Keselowski said succinctly after the race. “I pushed as hard as I knew how and didn’t quite do good enough on the last restart, and that was it.
“We clawed as hard as we could, and there were times it looked like we were going to be fine and times it didn’t. In the end it didn’t work out… I needed to get up to the top of the track on the last restart. I couldn’t get up. I got sandwiched. Somebody went three-wide and got me in the middle of (Turn) 4—just all bad.”
Despite three wins this season, Keselowski, the 2012 series champion, won’t be eligible for a second title this year.
“Yeah, I did think we were OK (after the pit stop),” said Keselowski, who has a single-minded purpose after his elimination.
“Go win Martinsville,” Keselowski said.