A mid-race bump derailed Brad Keselowski’s chances for a good finish Sunday afternoon at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The driver of the No. 2 Autotrader Ford was credited with a 28th-place finish in the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 and is fifth in NASCAR Cup Series driver standings, 71 points behind the leader.
In Stage 1 Keselowski battled a Mustang that was too free, especially at the two-thirds mark of the corners. He stayed inside the top-10 until the final laps of the segment when he slipped back to 11th position. Keselowski pitted during the stage caution on lap 108 for four tires and a major round of adjustments and restarted 14th when the race went green on lap 112.
Unfortunately, Keselowski never got a chance to see if the changes worked. On lap 120, Martin Truex Jr. got loose at the exit of Turn 4 and slid up the track in front of the Autotrader Ford. Keselowski made contact with Truex Jr., which pushed in the nose of the No. 2 Mustang plus other damage. He stopped as scheduled on lap 170 for tires and repairs and returned to the track, losing two laps in the process. Keselowski finished 29th when the stage ended on lap 210 and the Autotrader crew made multiple stops during the stage break for repairs. The team patched up their Mustang and Keselowski restarted 30th when the race went green on lap 217.
Keselowski stayed out during the fifth caution on lap 221, taking the wave around and regaining one of his lost laps. Despite the team’s best efforts, he was unable to make significant progress towards the front and was credited with a 28th-place finish.
“Certainly not the day we wanted with our Autotrader Ford,” said Keselowski. “We’ll bounce back next week at Bristol.”