Brad Keselowski overcame early right-front damage to the No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang resulting from a cut tire to score a seventh-place finish in Thursday night’s NASCAR Cup Series event at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
By virtue of winning the Coca-Cola 600 last Sunday, Keselowski was rewarded with the 20th starting position following the series invert. While in the middle of the pack at the start of the race, the 2012 Cup Series champion made contact with another competitor that resulted in a cut tire and contact with the outside wall just before a red flag was displayed for inclement weather at lap 30.
After making repairs and restarting from his lowest-running position of 36th, Keselowski and crew chief Jeremy Bullins methodically worked their way through the field, eventually entering the top 10 by electing to stay out under a lap-74 caution period in Stage 2.
Unfortunately, the handling deteriorated during the second stage and Keselowski fell back through the field to the 27th position at stage end. He radioed to Bullins that more repairs were needed to the right side of his Discount Tire Ford.
With the repairs made prior to the start of the final stage, Keselowski was prepared to gash his way through the field. Few cars had better speed in the final stage, and thanks to a great pit stop by the No. 2 crew on a lap 44 caution, Keselowski made it back inside the top 10 by lap 150. He would remain there the rest of the way, eventually crossing the finish line in the seventh position for his sixth top-10 finish of the 2020 season. He remains fifth in the Championship point standings, 66 points behind the leader Kevin Harvick.
“Compared to Sunday’s race, the feeling I have after this one is like I played only half of a game instead of the full game,” said Keselowski. “I also like this format a lot. We should have longer races on the weekend and shorter races – minus the weather delay – during the week. No practice and no qualifying, inverting the field from the week before provides some compelling storylines. I think NASCAR has struck gold with this format and I hope they keep it for years to come.”