Confused 2 Crew Crosses 9th in All-Star Race

Once the dust settled and the checkered flag was dropped in the Monster Energy All-Star Race, there was more confusion than celebration in the Charlotte Motor Speedway garage.

The No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion team tried a unique strategy on the fly in the non-points exhibition event, but it backfired as the tire strategy wasn’t allowed due to NASCAR’s All-Star Race rules, leading to a ninth-place finish for Brad Keselowski and Co.

“Definitely a tough finish tonight for the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford,” Brad said. “We had loose lug nuts after the second stage and having to come back down pit road to tighten those definitely altered our strategy. We just have to regroup this coming week and be better for the 600.”

Kicking off the first Segment in seventh, it didn’t take long to see some progress. Brad passed Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the opening lap and Kurt Busch on Lap 6 for P5, but the run stalled out, as BK closed the first segment right there in fifth on Lap 20.

Pitting for a fresh set of primary Goodyear Eagles during the yellow, the 2 Crew dropped two positions to a few teams only taking two tires. When the green flag flew to begin Segment 2, BK started and finished it in seventh.

As Wolfe decided it was time to deploy the option green-walled tires, a loose lugnut forced Kes to bring the Deuce in for attention. Once he rejoined the field on the track, a persistent vibration remained, leading the crew chief to swap the soft compound rubber for another set of regular tires.

Because the Miller 2 Crew utilized their optional soft tires and then removed them, it took that set of tires out of the race—meaning they had to run the final two stages—30 laps on the same four tires. Kes voiced his opinion on the confusion after the race.

Starting the third Segment from P20, Brad cracked the Top 15 after three laps. Halfway into the 20 lap Segment, the Michigan driver worked his way up to P13, also passing Daniel Suarez and Earnhardt Jr. Following the trend of the race, 13th was as high as the 2012 Champion rose in the shootout.

Putting up the ninth best Segment average of the 20 competitors, Brad was one of 10 drivers permitted to the final 10 lap dash. Since all four sets of tires were worn, Kes had no other choice than to stay out on track, take the race lead, and hope for the best.

To no real shock, tires were more critical than ever in the battle for the win as BK fell to the back before even hitting the backstretch, shaping up for a P9 finish.

Even though the non-points event didn’t play his way, the entire 2 Crew still remains optimistic looking towards the Coca-Cola 600. Owning a pair of Top 5’s in NASCAR’s longest race, he’s had the endurance to make it, but will need a full team effort to rise a few more spots. Tune in when the 600 miler starts on Sunday, May 28th at 6 p.m., live on FOX.

View Entire Article Here