Brad Keselowski made the most of two good race restarts in the closing laps to score a second-place finish in the FireKeepers 400 Saturday afternoon at Michigan International Speedway (MIS). Keselowski racked up his ninth top-five of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season and his equaled his best career finish at MIS, the home track for the Michigan native. The driver of the Discount Tire Ford Mustang remains second in the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings, now 94 points behind leader and Saturday’s race winner Kevin Harvick.
Keselowski started from the fifth position Saturday and reported that the No. 2 Mustang was running really loose at the start of the race. He pitted during the competition caution on lap 17 for four tires and an air pressure adjustment and he restarted the race in the 12th position. Keselowski said the car was a little tight-handling over the next run but he was able to rally for a fifth-place finish at the conclusion of the first stage on lap 40. Crew Chief Jeremy Bullins made the call to pit during the stage caution on lap 43 for four tires and fuel on the No. 2 Mustang and Keselowski restarted third when the race went green on lap 47.
Stage 2 ran caution free and Keselowski remained inside the top-five throughout the segment. He scored a fifth-place finish when the stage concluded on lap 85 and he told the team the balance on the Discount Tire Ford was free off the corners and tight coming out of the turns. Keselowski pitted during the stage caution on lap 88 as the No. 2 took on four tires and a right-rear wedge adjustment. Speedy work by the Discount Tire team moved Keselowski up to third-place for the restart on lap 91.
The final 67 laps of the race featured six caution periods followed by restarts that featured three- and sometimes four-wide racing. Keselowski made his final stop for four tires on lap 107 and he took advantage of two good restarts late in the race (laps 147 and 154, respectively). The restarts helped him rally from ninth position to third when the ninth caution on lap 155 pushed the finish of the race into NASCAR Overtime. Keselowski used the Choose Rule to line up beside Harvick, the race leader, for the final restart on lap 159. The two raced side-by-side but Keselowski was not able to make the pass for the win and took the checkered flag in second place.
“I thought our Discount Tire Ford Mustang was really good,” said Keselowski. “We made a good call there before the competition caution to come in and pit and that cycled us up to 12th or something and we were able to drive to third before that stage and then ran second in the second stage. We took four tires there when we got in our fuel window and it was hard to get through traffic. I wish we would have kept third before that last caution because I would have chosen the bottom and had a little better shot. I am proud of the effort. The 4 (Kevin Harvick) was really fast. We need to work on our stuff a little and I think we can compete a little better tomorrow.”
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