The seventh and final caution in Sunday afternoons race at Kansas Speedway spoiled Brad Keselowski’s chances to win. The driver of the Verizon 5G Ford Mustang had fresher tires than competitors, an edge that was wiped away with the waving of the yellow flag. Keselowski survived a chaotic restart and two-lap dash to score a third-place finish, his fifth top-five effort of the season. He remains sixth in the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings, moving up to sixth position, 115 points behind leader Denny Hamlin.
Keselowski started first and led the first 32 laps of the race. But as Stage 1 moved into its closing laps, the balance on the No. 2 Verizon 5G Mustang shifted to the loose side and Keselowski was unable to stay up front but he did claim a fourth-place finish when the segment ended on lap 80. Crew chief Jeremy Bullins made the call to pit for four tires and adjustments during the stage caution. Good work by the 2 Crew gave kept Keselowski in fourth position for the restart on lap 87.
In Stage 2, Keselowski battled both tight and loose conditions on his No. 2 Mustang. He settled into third position early in the stage but his car’s handling characteristics were tight in the center of the corner early in the stage and then swung loose at the 80-lap segment drew to a close. Keselowski held off Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott in the closing laps of the stage to score a fourth-place finish. Bullins made another round of adjustments when Keselowski pitted during the stage caution. Another solid stop by the crew gave Keselowski fifth-place for the restart on lap 167.
The third and final stage saw Keselowski and Bullins work their way into contention. Keselowski was running fourth when he pitted for four tires and track bar and air pressure adjustments under yellow on lap 246. He used a great restart to move up to third but was zapped by two late-race caution and neutralized his advantage of fresher tires.
“We weren’t quite as fast as we wanted to be,” said Keselowski. “The Gibbs cars were really fast and Kyle Larson was screaming fast, so a very similar race for us to Vegas, kind of right there on that edge of the top five. We just need a little bit more, but we almost stole one there with pitting and the yellow came out there with 10 to go and it was just kind of the restart chaos. We all run into each other, whether it’s me running into someone or somebody else running into somebody it’s just part of it. Not a bad day for the Verizon 5G Ford Mustang.”