Brad Keselowski scored a 10th-place finish Sunday afternoon at Phoenix Raceway in his final race for Team Penske. The finish was his 16th top-10 finish of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season and allowed the driver of the Discount Tire Ford to secure sixth in the series driver standings.
Keselowski started 11th and wrestled a tight-handling Mustang throughout Stage 1. He and crew chief Jeremy Bullins opted to stay out during the second caution and restarted alongside race leader Ryan Blaney on lap 20. Unfortunately, the Discount Tire Ford was a handful for Keselowski for the remainder of the segment. As the stage neared its conclusion, Keselowski took care of his car and was credited with a 19th-place finish when the stage ended on lap 75. Keselowski pitted for four tires and fuel during the stage caution and restarted 16th on lap 83.
In Stage 2, Keselowski clawed his way back into contention in the Cup Series finale. Adjustments by Bullins paid off and Keselowski scored a seventh-place finish when the stage ended on lap 190. The balance on the No. 2 Mustang was good on the long run but he was too free to be effective on a short run. Keselowski stopped for four tires and a round of adjustments during the stage caution and restarted ninth on lap 197.
The third and final stage was a seesaw affair for Keselowski. He was running ninth when he pitted under green on lap 241. Six laps later, the caution flag waved, pinning Keselowski a lap down. He took the wave around during the yellow and restarted 22nd on lap 254 but on the lead lap. From there, he worked his way back to the front. With two laps to go, he passed teammate Joey Logano for 10th, collecting his top-10.
“We couldn’t really catch any breaks today with our Discount Tire Ford. The first stage we stayed out and got that long run and kind of got ate up. We recovered from that and got ourselves back in the hunt, back up to sixth or seventh, and we pitted under green a little early to try to pick up some spots, but the caution came out and trapped us a lap down,” said Keselowski.
“We were 23rd with like 50 to go and we drove back up through to 10th. It just wasn’t meant to be.”