Brad Keselowski was credited with a 24th-place finish in the Goodyear 400 Sunday afternoon at Darlington Raceway. The driver of the Freightliner Ford Mustang dropped to ninth in the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings, 150 points behind leader Denny Hamlin.
Keselowski started first and led the first four laps of the 293-lap event, but just past the lap-10 mark he began to lose positions. The balance on the No. 2 Freightliner Mustang was loose on corner entry and exit while he was struggling to turn in the center of the corners. The team made two pit stops during Stage 1, but was unable to improve the car’s handling. He fell a lap down just before Stage 1 ended on lap 90 and was credited with a 20th-place finish. Keselowski pitted during the stage caution on lap 95 for several chassis adjustments plus four tires and restarted 22nd when the race went green on lap 97.
The main objective in Stage 2 for the Freightliner team was to work their way back onto the lead lap. Keselowski raced Ross Chastain and Austin Dillon for the free pass early in the stage, but his handling woes were just too much to overcome. On lap 165, the Freightliner Ford wiggled between Turns 1 and 2 and Keselowski immediately pitted for four tires, which dropped him another lap down to the leaders. He was credited with a 27th-place finish when the stage concluded on lap 185.
Acting crew chief Grant Hutchens and Keselowski made the call to stay on the track during the Stage 2 caution, taking the wave around to the tail end of the one lap down cars while hoping for a quick caution to make up a lap. The desired yellow never came and Keselowski made his scheduled stop for four tires and fuel on lap 211. Now trapped two laps down, Keselowski soldiered on to the finish and was credited with 24th-place in the final rundown.
“Not the day we wanted with our Freightliner Ford,” said Keselowski. “We’ll bounce back next weekend at Dover.”
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