Brad Keselowski’s chances to win the Daytona 500 were derailed by an accident within sight of the checkered flag Sunday night at Daytona International Speedway. Keselowski was scored with a 13th-place finish after the incident on the final lap of the race.
The No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang qualified with a 24th-place starting position, but Keselowski started from the rear of the field when he was forced to a backup car following Thursday night’s Duel qualifying race at Daytona.
Sunday’s Daytona 500 was red flagged after just 15 laps following a multi-car accident and then heavy rain that moved through the area. When the race resumed after a nearly six-hour delay, Keselowski ran inside the top 10 for much of Stage 1 and finished 11th when the segment concluded on lap 65. Keselowski pitted during the stage caution for four tires and restarted eighth when the green flag resumed racing action on lap 71.
In Stage 2, Keselowski moved in and out of the lead draft before rallying into contention late in the segment. After falling outside the top 10 midway through the stage, Keselowski worked his way up the leaderboard and was running 10th when the stage concluded on lap 130. The Discount Tire Ford Mustang made a four-tire stop during the stage caution on lap 132 and Keselowski restarted ninth when the race went green on lap 136.
The third and final stage didn’t start or end the way the way the No. 2 Ford team had hoped for. Keselowski battled in traffic and he ran in 14th place when he made his final stop of the night on lap 170. Crew chief Jeremy Bullins made the call for right-side tires and speedy service by the Discount Tire crew put Keselowski back on the track in fourth position. Keselowski prevented several Chevrolet drivers from moving past him and he advanced to third place with 10 laps remaining. With the Daytona 500 drawing to a close, Keselowski moved into position to win the race. He drove the Discount Tire Mustang into second place on the final lap, behind leader and teammate Joey Logano. As the lead pack entered Turn 3, Keselowski moved to the inside of Logano for the race lead and the two cars made contact. The accident collected multiple cars as Keselowski wound up finishing 13th in the running order.
“I had a big run down the backstretch and wanted to make the pass to win the Daytona 500 and it ended up really bad,” said Keselowski. “It’s frustrating. The Discount Tire Ford was not the fastest, but Jeremy Bullins and the whole team did a great job of keeping us in position and right then we were in position. It’s exactly where I wanted to be running second on the last lap at Daytona with this package and had the run, made the move and it didn’t work out.”