For the second straight week, Brad Keselowski’s day ended early to no fault of his own.
Just 66 laps into the AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover International Speedway, Brad was running fourth in search of his eighth Top 5 finish of the year. But when Kurt Busch went for a spin on a restart, he collected the No. 2 Wurth Ford Fusion and sent it into the wall. The damage was critical and the day was over for the 2 Crew.
“It really stinks to DNF (Did Not Finish) two weeks in a row, but to make it worse I think we had cars capable of competing for the win both weeks,” BK said. “It’s unfortunate that we haven’t been able to show the speed in our Ford Fusions.”
Brad showed the strength of the Wurth Ford, posting the sixth-quickest mark in the opening practice of the weekend and earning a Top 10 starting position for the ninth time in his career at The Monster Mile. After qualifying eighth, BK went to work on the short runs early in the race.
He moved from eighth to sixth before the race’s first caution at lap 18. Strategies varied on the opening stop as Brad exited pit road eighth. He gained another position after a miscue by Kyle Busch’s pit crew caused him to lose a wheel and pit a second time, and he again swiped two spots from seventh to eighth on the restart.
Another caution flag flew at lap 48 after a tire issue for Ricky Stenhouse Jr. That first Stenhouse incident allowed BK to grab another spot up to fourth, but a second wreck by the recent Talladega winner set the stage for the wreck that ended the 2 Crew’s afternoon.
On the lap 67 restart, Kurt Busch got loose underneath Kyle Larson while battling for the lead entering Turn 1. His No. 41 Ford slid from the inside line and tagged the No. 2 Wurth Ford, running fourth on the outside, sending Kes hard into the wall in Turn 2. Busch rejoined the race after repairs but soon spun out again, finishing 37th.
“One of them racing deals,” BK said of the wreck. “These cars rely so much on aerodynamics. We saw that early with guys being able to stay out on two tires even with a lot of tire wear. I don’t know if it was Kurt’s fault, just one of them racing deals. We line-up double-file and somebody got loose and just took us out. What a bummer. Just one of them racing deals.”
Jimmie Johnson went on to claim an overtime victory, his 11th career win at Dover.
Last week, Kes held on to third place in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings, but he couldn’t survive a second consecutive week of bad luck, falling to seventh. However, he still left The Monster Mile proud of the machine his team brought and confident for the coming weeks.
“The most important thing, though, is that we indeed have speed,” Brad said. “The Wurth Ford was really good on restarts today and we were able to make some good moves to work our way into the top five. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t meant to be today.”
The Cup Series now heads to Pocono Raceway for the Pocono 400. Kes has one win and seven Top 10 finishes for his career at The Tricky Triangle. Green flag is set for shortly after 3 p.m. ET and will air on FOX Sports 1.