Brad Keselowski scored a 19th-place finish Monday evening in the 500-mile NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway. The driver of the Dent Wizard Ford Mustang lined up third for the NASCAR Overtime finish on lap 189 but got shuffled back into the pack shortly after the race went green. Keselowski is fifth in the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings, 49 points behind leader Kevin Harvick.
Keselowski started sixth in the race and ran among the top five during the early laps of Stage 1, saying that the balance on the No. 2 Mustang was very respectable. He was seventh on the leaderboard when the race was halted by rain on lap 57, just three laps from the end of the stage. After a 57-minute delay, the race resumed with Stage 1 finishing under caution. Keselowski pitted on lap 61 for four tires and restarted fifth when the race restarted on lap 64.
For much of Stage 2, Keselowski ran inside the top five and for several laps he was in line behind his Team Penske teammates Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano. The only report Keselowski gave crew chief Jeremy Bullins regarding the balance on the No. 2 Mustang came under yellow on lap 115 when he said he was a little tight. Keselowski restarted third and finished fourth when the segment ended on lap 120 after a two-lap dash following the caution. He pitted during the stage caution on lap 122 for four tires. A mix of strategies among the leader shuffled Keselowski back to 13th position when the race restarted on lap 125.
The complexion of Keselowski’s race changed during a caution period with just under 50 laps to go. While running fifth at the time of the yellow, Keselowski pitted twice under caution, once on lap 143 for right-side tires and fuel and again lap 145 for left-side tires and to top off his fuel. This resulted in him restarting 23rd. By lap 167, Keselowski was up to 13th place and began to save fuel in an effort to make it to the end of the race.
The fuel conservation strategy worked as the leaders ahead of him began to pit, Keselowski remained on the track and climbed up the leaderboard. A caution on lap 185 sent the race into NASCAR Overtime and Keselowski restarted fifth when the race went green on lap 189. Unfortunately, the restart was not kind to driver of the Dent Wizard Ford as he was shuffled outside the top 20 in just one lap. He picked up a handful of position on the final lap, crossing the finish line in 19th position.
“I blocked the wrong lane at the end of the race, which was unfortunate because I thought I had shown all race that we had a Dent Wizard Ford that could have raced for the win,” said Keselowski. “I’ll have to go back and look at the tape. I think it’s awesome that Ryan Blaney won and I’m really happy for him.”