Brad Keselowski scored a ninth-place finish Sunday afternoon at Texas Motor Speedway. The driver of the WURTH Ford Mustang collected his 13th top-10 finish in 18 NASCAR Cup Series races this season and his ninth at Texas. Keselowski is third in the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings, 106 points behind leader Kevin Harvick.
Keselowski started sixth and had his hands full with the balance on the No. 2 Mustang throughout Stage 1 – mainly struggling to turn in Turns 3 and 4. He was one of the final cars to pit during a cycle of stops on lap 94 and finished 25th when the stage ended on lap 105. Crew chief Jeremy Bullins made the call for a four-tire stop and a major adjustment during the stage caution and pitted again during the third caution on lap 118.
The adjustments by Bullins improved the handling on the WURTH Mustang. Keselowski worked his way through the running order. As they did earlier in the race, Keselowski was one of the final cars to pit during a cycle of green flag stops in Stage 2, stopping on lap 189 and finished 14th when the segment ended 18-laps later. Bullins chose to change left-side tires during the stage caution.
Keselowski grabbed the lead on the restart and held the top spot for the next 15 laps. But the No. 2 Mustang got more and more loose and the laps ticked off in the stage. As the race entered its final quarter, Bullins made the decision to once again leave Keselowski on the track. A caution on lap 307 in the middle of pit cycle gave Keselowski track position and an opportunity for tires and adjustments for the closing laps of the race. He was seventh when the 10th and final caution set up a two-lap dash to the finish. Keselowski restarted seventh and crossed the finish line ninth when the checkered flag waved.
“We started off really struggling and took us a little while to figure out what was wrong,” said Keselowski. “A little before halfway we made some adjustments and the car was just hitting the racetrack really bad and I couldn’t make any speed. I had to slow down a bunch in the corners, so we worked on that under yellow and kind of gave up our track position working on it and was able to work the cycle to get back up towards the lead, but still didn’t quite have enough speed. So we worked on it again some more and got up to right about fifth and sixth and that was about all we had. We ended up the last restart on the bottom lane and fell back a spot or two to I think ninth, but, all in all, a decent finish. It’s not the day we were hoping for, but a decent finish and we keep piling in on the top 10s and top fives, which is a good feeling. Our strategy has been really good. Jeremy and I are really clicking on all of those things, just looking to be a little bit faster. If we can combine our execution with a little more speed, we’re going to be a serious threat to win week in and week out. We’re just not quite there yet.”