Dear Matt, Thank you. Love Brad

AVONDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 12: Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, leads a pack of cars during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Can-Am 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 12, 2017 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Brad Keselowski’s prospects of qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship 4 race weren’t looking good.

Keselowski entered Sunday’s Can-Am 500 at Phoenix Raceway with a 19-point lead over Denny Hamlin for the final spot in the season finale at homestead-Miami Speedway, but by the end of the second stage of the race, his advantage was gone.

Hamlin finished second in the first stage and won the second to pull even with Keselowski, who was mired in traffic with an ill-handling No. 2 Team Penske Ford and scored no points in either of the first two stages.

Hamlin led 193 laps and appeared headed to Homestead before eventual race runner-up Chase Elliott pinched Hamlin’s Toyota into the outside wall. Five laps later, Hamlin was out of the race after a blown tire and hard contact with the Turn 3 wall, and Keselowski preserved his spot in the championship race with a 16th-place finish.

“It kind of feels a little bit like Christmas,” Keselowski said. “We overcame a lot of obstacles and jumped a lot of hurdles today. I’m glad I don’t have to relive this day, that’s for sure. I’m just looking forward to going to Homestead.

“Sometimes you need a little luck on your side. Today we had that. It wasn’t by any means where we wanted to run. We wanted to run up front and have a shot for the win. That wasn’t in the cards. We tried to run the smartest race we could and survive, and it ended up paying off in the end.”

Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.