- Brad Keselowski saw his chance to win the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on the ROVAL at Charlotte Motor Speedway evaporate just six laps from the finish on Sunday afternoon. Keselowski was the leader when the race went green on lap 104 following the seventh caution. As he and Martin Truex Jr. raced side-by-side for the lead entering the first corner, his No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford Fusion simply didn’t turn, landing nose-first into the outside tire barrier. The heavy traffic following the restart created a chain reaction incident that collected a total of 15 cars and halted the race for nearly 15 minutes for track repair. He was credited with a 31st-place finish in the final rundown and is fourth in the MENCS driver standings, 30 points behind the leader.
- The frustrating turn of events in the race capped a rollercoaster weekend for Keselowski and the No. 2 team. They were strong in practice on Friday afternoon but a minor mechanical problem during qualifying gave him the 25th-place starting position. On Saturday, Keselowski had just ripped off the fast lap in final practice before tagging the wall, forcing him to a backup car for the race – and starting the 109-lap race from the rear of the field.
- When Stage 1 started, Keselowski methodically began working his way through the field. He was up to 24th position when he made a scheduled pit stop during the first caution on lap 15. Once the race went green, he continued to work his way forward. He reported that his No. 2 Ford Fusion was good everywhere but needed forward drive off Turns 3 and 8. Keselowski finished the opening segment of the race in 14th position when the stage ended on lap 25. He stayed on the track during the stage caution and lined up seventh when the race went green on lap 29.
- During Stage 2 Keselowski worked his way up to second position when he made a scheduled green flag stop for four tires and adjustments on lap 39. Solid work by the No. 2 pit crew kept him with race leaders Kyle Larson and Truex Jr. during the cycle of green flag stops. Keselowski spun on lap 48 while attempting to pass Truex Jr. for position through Turns 16 and 17. He quickly recovered and was credited with a 21st-place finish when the stage ended on lap 50. Keselowski pitted during the stage caution on lap 52 for four tires and air pressure adjustments plus hasty repairs to the left-rear of his ca and restarted 36th when the final stage began on lap 54.
- Two cautions early in Stage 3 gave Keselowski the chance to contend for the victory. He pitted on lap 60 for four tires and repairs to his left rear. Another caution on lap 67 gave him the chance to pit for tires and fuel – and perhaps get him to the end of the race. Keselowski restarted 29th but once again slicked his way through traffic. He moved up to fourth-place when most of the leader pitted for tires and fuel on lap 70 and grabbed the lead on lap 75. From there, Keselowski was tasked with keeping the lead all while trying to stretch his fuel mileage to the max. He was doing well at both, fending off a serious challenge from Kyle Larson as the race neared the 90-lap mark. But on lap 103 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. brought out the seventh caution and just one lap later Keselowski’s chances to win were gone.
“I really have to give a lot of credit to Paul Wolfe and everyone on this Alliance Truck Parts Ford team because this car was a rocket. I wrecked in practice and we unloaded this car just for the race and it was screaming fast. I thought we were going to win today. It just didn’t come together. The whole field went down into Turn 1 it and looked like we all went straight. Maybe we all overdrove it, maybe the track had something on it, I don’t know. I got in the corner. I got into the corner hard, but not like ridiculously hard and it just locked up. I couldn’t get the tire to unlock, so I felt really, really dumb when I hit the wall and then I got back in the care center and saw the replay and saw everybody kind of did the same thing. I don’t know. It’s frustrating.”
I’m usually not big on road races but i loved the Roval, couldn’t take my eyes off the screen
Brad, As I was watching the race, I Really thought..”as long as a Caution, doesn’t come Out”…You will have a GOOD Chance to Win. I was afraid, since you were on old tires, I was praying you got off Good, without spinng your tires..knew something went terribly wrong, when the #2 didn’t turn. Just Thank God when you hit the Wall, you seemed not to be hurt. Bet you were sore the next day. Still Fav driver since 2009! Have Faith in your abilities. #Goingfor2. Sincerely, Lily Jean Sobotta (NE FLORIDA FAN)