Already locked into the Round of 8 thanks to last week’s win at Talladega Superspeedway, Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion team employed some strategy, trying to add more playoff points going into the cutthroat third round.
Unfortunately, the luck that fell their way at Talladega just wasn’t there at Kansas Speedway as BK finished 13th. He will, however, enter the Round of 8 in third place at 4,026 points.
“The Miller Lite Ford Fusion was good enough and better than our finish,” Brad said. “All in all, my guys put a good effort in it and I think we were better than we finished. We put ourselves in position to capitalize on strategy and execution multiple times today and we just didn’t catch any breaks. You’ll have that. Now it’s on to Martinsville.”
BK earned his third straight Top 10 start, qualifying in 10th for the Hollywood Casino 400. Right from the start, Brad battled a Miller Lite Ford that lacked stability entering Kansas’ corners. The loose handling caused BK to drop out of the Top 10, back to 14th when the competition caution was displayed at lap 30.
Paul Wolfe’s crew made air pressure and wedge adjustments to the White Lite, allowing it to battle to 11th before the conclusion of Stage 1, and Brad’s machine came alive in Stage 2. BK had powered his way back into the Top 10 to seventh before pitting at lap 144. Here, Wolfe employed some strategy to vault the No. 2 Ford to third for the end of the second stage.
Unfortunately, BK’s Stage 3 hopes took a hit before the segment began. He was flagged for speeding entering his pit stall, dropping him to the rear of the field. Over the next 90 laps, Brad drove all the way back into the Top 10. He was in seventh when he made his final pit stop at lap 239—but he was hit for speeding in the same section once again.
He restarted 22nd, but with 25 laps to go, he didn’t have time to make up the distance, finishing 13th.
“I don’t understand the pit road speeding penalties and will have to see that with my own eyes,” BK said after the race.
The MENCS Playoffs head to Martinsville Speedway to open the Round of 8. BK will return to the Virginia short track as the recent winner, having taken home his first career Grandfather Clock at the Cup level earlier this season.
He’ll look to replicate that performance when the First Data 500 goes green Sunday at 3:13 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
MENCS PLAYOFF STANDINGS
1. Martin Truex Jr. – 4069
2. Kyle Busch – 4042
3. Brad Keselowski – 4026
T4. Kevin Harvick – 4017
T4. Jimmie Johnson – 4017
6. Denny Hamlin – 4014
7. Ryan Blaney – 4009
8. Chase Elliott – 4006