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.”

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.