Keselowski rolls with the punches in Kansas

Brad Keselowski is leaving Kansas Speedway feeling like he left a lot on the table as far as the NASCAR playoffs go.

“That was a heck of a race; we’re all just fighting so hard,” Keselowski said after finishing 17th. “Just bummed I didn’t get more out of it; had a heck of an opportunity to score a lot of points and make next week easy. We still aren’t in a bad spot but not as good as spot as we could have been.”

The Round of 8 was never going to be easy for Keselowski and company. The former series champion has been honest in the lack of dominating speed from his No. 2 Ford on the 550-horsepower racetracks, which are two of the three races in this round. As such, Keselowski instead took a more methodical approach of proclaiming he needed to score over 100 points in the round to advance (without a win) to the title.

Keselowski had a successful day in Texas by bagging points. Things did not go as planned Sunday afternoon at Kansas as Keselowski was set back by multiple issues.

It started around lap 34 when it became clear Keselowski was just trying to hang onto his car as he fell outside the top 10. Strong wind gusts hung over the track all afternoon, adding a variable that drivers weren’t expecting off Turn 2 and resulted in some hitting the wall.

Keselowski was one of those. He hit the wall and was forced to pit road on lap 37 under green-flag conditions, dropping to 39th in the running order and off the lead lap. By the end of the first stage, Keselowski was two laps down.

Running 30th at the end of the first stage and 27th in the second, Keselowski was already behind the eight-ball without any points. Forced to pit because of rising engine temps on lap 214, Keselowski again was two laps down.

Even worse, Keselowski sat in the lucky dog position when he did.

“Well, if I didn’t, it probably would have blown up,” he said. “Then we wouldn’t have any shot next week other than winning. It ended up costing us probably five or six spots, and probably we would have been in the fourth spot (in points). It is what it is.”

Keselowski earned 20 points in Kansas. After entering the day 15 points below the cutline, he did gain some points and is six behind going into the elimination race at Martinsville Speedway.

“We’ll do all we can do, and that’s all we can do,” Keselowski said. “Obviously, winning would lock our way in, but as you saw this week, as crazy as these races get, I’m not sure that’s what you have to do.”