Keselowski rallies to keep title hopes alive

FORT WORTH, TX - NOVEMBER 05: Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Wurth Ford, leads a pack of cars during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 5, 2017 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

In an instant, Brad Keselowski was a lap down.

Moments after the start of Sunday’s AAA Texas 500, before the lead drivers had completed the first two corners, Kyle Busch’s Toyota washed up the track into Keselowski’s Ford and cut a tire on the Team Penske machine.

The resulting unscheduled pit stop left Keselowski a lap down, but he and the team kept their heads on straight. Keselowski got the lap back under the second caution as the highest-scored lapped car, and by the end of the second stage, he was 14th.

Throughout the rest of the race, Keselowski gained ground. On Lap 334, he took the checkered flag in fifth place to hold fourth in the series standings and build a 19-point edge over Denny Hamlin in fifth.

Next Sunday at Phoenix, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs will be cut from eight drivers to four, and Keselowski already has a leg up on the final available spot in the Championship 4 round.

“Something happened on Lap 1, and basically we started the race last and a lap-and-a-half down,” Keselowski said. “That cost us a bunch of stage points, but we rallied with a solid effort to get back to fifth. I’m happy for that.”

Happy, but not overly confident with the 19-point margin.

“We’ll take it,” Keselowski said. “I still want more. I hate to give up those stage points. Nineteen points isn’t terrible for a cushion.

“We’ll need to go and have a solid race at Phoenix next week and hope none of the other guys win. It’s doable, but it’s going to be a nail-biter next week for sure.”

About Greg Engle 7420 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.