A mechanical problem ruined Brad Keselowski’s chances for a good finish in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway. The driver of the Discount Tire Ford was running 13th when he suffered a power steering issue on lap 294. The mechanical problems sent Keselowski to the garage area for an extended stay for repairs and left him with a 34th-place finish. He enters the Round of 12 in the NASCAR Playoffs is third position, 32 points behind leader Kevin Harvick Kevin Harvick.
Keselowski started from the pole and led the first 17 laps before settling into second-place at the time of the competition caution on lap 30. He restarted third and took the lead on lap 43. As the run progressed, Keselowski said balance on his No. 2 Mustang became tight. He led until lap 107 before fading to an eighth-place finish Stage 1 concluded on lap 125. Keselowski pitted during the stage caution for four tires and adjustments and restarted sixth on lap 136.
In Stage 2, Keselowski was too tight to run with the leaders. The track bar adjustment during the previous stop was opposite of what the team had planned. Keselowski fell a lap down on lap 230 during a long green flag run but caught a break on lap 234 when the third caution of the race gave him the free pass back to the lead lap. He pitted under yellow on lap 238 for four tires and more adjustments and rallied over the final nine green flag laps to score a 12th-place finish when the stage ended on lap 250. He pitted under the stage caution for four tires and restarted 16th on lap 260.
Keselowski reported on lap 294 that he had lost power steering and went to the garage area on lap 311 for repairs. He returned to the track on lap 395 and was credited with a 34th-place finish.
“It was a frustrating night, there is no way around that. I am thankful we were able to lead some laps in the Discount Tire Ford but that certainly was not what we were hoping for. We had a power steering pump issue. I am not sure exactly what it was. I will let the team guys get to that and chase it down. Obviously, it killed our chances. I don’t know what would have happened if we didn’t have that problem, but we did so we will move on to the next week and I am thankful we had the win at Richmond last week to fall back on.”