Brad Braced for Monster Mile’s Challenge

Brad Keselowski doesn’t need an outstanding finish in this weekend’s Apache Warrior 400, but the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford driver will nonetheless look for the Top 5 that eluded him earlier this season at Dover International Raceway.

Brad’s No. 2 Ford in Wurth colors showed great speed at The Monster Mile earlier this year, but it could only show it for 66 laps. Just one week after another competitor’s wreck knocked him out a Charlotte, Kes was taken out by a spinning Kurt Busch in Dover, ending his day early.

“It really stinks to DNF two weeks in a row, but to make it worse I think we had cars capable of competing for the win both weeks,” BK said at Dover in June. “It’s unfortunate that we haven’t been able to show the speed in our Ford Fusions.”

Despite that result, Brad does have a strong history at the 1-mile Delaware track. He boasts six Top 10 finishes, five in the Top 5, two poles and a win that helped fuel his 2012 Cup Championship run. He also finished runner-up twice at The Monster Mile in 2014.

“Dover is an incredible challenge,” BK said. “You literally drive into the corner and you fall down two stories, while going about 160mph, and your stomach just drops. Your right foot has to stay in the gas pedal, and that challenge to do that every lap for three hours is very tough.”

While Kes will have his hands full, he won’t have to deal with the pressure that the majority of his competitors are feeling. Brad is one of four drivers to have clinched a spot in the Round of 12. Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch are in on wins, while Kyle Larson and BK have enough of a cushion on the 12th-place cutline that they can’t fall out of the Top 12 based on points.

Four drivers will be eliminated after the race, setting the stage for a hectic weekend at a track that requires no extra pressure to be difficult. Qualifying is set for 3:40 p.m. ET after the initial practice at 10 a.m., both to be aired on NBCSN. CNBC will carry Saturday’s practice sessions. Finally, the Apache Warrior 400 will go green shortly after 2 p.m. ET Sunday and will air on NBCSN.

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