Brad Keselowski held off Kevin Harvick in the final laps to score a third-place finish Sunday afternoon at PoconoRaceway. The driver of the Detroit Engines Ford Mustang led twice on the afternoon and led the most laps (31) while he racked up his sixth top-five finish of the 2021 season. With the result, Keselowski remains 10th in the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings, 192 points behind leader Denny Hamlin.
Keselowski started 11th on Sunday afternoon and ran well throughout the opening stage of the race. He moved inside the top 10 by lap seven and steadily worked his way through the field to finish third when the segment concluded on lap 30. The handling on the Detroit Engines Ford got tighter during the run, especially in Turn 3. Crew chief Jeremy Bullins made the call to stay on track during the stage caution and Keselowski restarted as the race leader on lap 35.
Keselowski and the No. 2 Mustang led until the team made a scheduled pit stop under green on lap 46 for four tires. Keselowski returned to the track and stretched his mileage over the next 39 green flag laps as he once again was scored in third place at the end of Stage 2 on lap 85. The balance on the No. 2 Mustang improved during the second segment but the Detroit Engines Ford was still running a little free across Turn 2 and tight everywhere else on the Pocono track. Bullins called the No. 2 to pit lane for four tires during the stage caution and Keselowski restarted 17th on lap 90.
With a strong restart, Keselowski drove the Detroit Engines Mustang up to eighth place after taking the green flag and he gained three more positions when a few cars ahead of him chose to pit under the fourth caution on lap 94 to top off their fuel tanks. Keselowski restarted the race in fifth position on lap 96 and he threaded his way through traffic two laps later to grab the third position.
As the race entered its closing laps, Keselowski was in contention for the victory but was nine laps short of making it to the checkered flag on fuel. He took the lead on lap 115 when Alex Bowman pitted and Keselowski remained up front until he pitted on lap 132, just eight laps from the finish. The No. 2 Ford Mustang crew got Keselowski out of the pits in just three seconds and he was able to drive back to the front as others pitted over the final two laps. Keselowski then held off Harvick down to the stretch to claim third at the checkered flag for his fourth top-three finish of the season.
“We ran a really good race but just didn’t have enough fuel to make it to the end like those other guys” said Keselowski. “I am really proud of Jeremy Bullins and everyone on the Detroit Engines team. They had a great setup and it put us in position. It was a nice rebound from where we have been. We have had a lot of bad breaks with things breaking and all kinds of issues across the board. This was a really good day for us.”
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