Phoenix Brings P14 Finish for 2 Crew

In the penultimate race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, Brad Keselowski came home with a disappointing 14th place day.

The No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion was in contention in the Can Am 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, but two pit road miscues by Brad set the team back on a tough day in the desert. Now, the 2 Crew looks forward to the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where they’ll still be vying for their fifth win of the year.

“I am disappointed in myself with how our race played out today,” Brad said. “We had a very fast Miller Lite Ford Fusion, but I missed the pit stall on two separate pit stops. The loss of track position ruined our day, which is unfortunate because I think we could’ve challenged for the win. We can still leave Homestead next weekend with the most wins in the series and that is our focus.”

2016 NASCAR Phoenix

Starting the race from P14, it didn’t take long to start gaining ground as Kyle Larson spun out from second on the first lap, allowing Brad to jump up to 12th. Restarting on lap six, he passed Carl Edwards to take the 11th position. On lap 18, Championship 4 lock Jimmie Johnson passed BK before making a charge of his own towards the front. Showing some long run speed, Kes passed Ryan Blaney on lap 25, and Jamie McMurray the next time by to crack the Top 10. On the 35th lap, he passed Kurt Busch for ninth. Ten laps later, he passed Matt Kenseth for eighth, and on lap 50, he passed race favorite Kevin Harvick for seventh. Kasey Kahne took a position back from the No. 2 dropping to P8 on lap 64, where he remained until the lap 83 crash between Ryan Newman and Kyle Larson.

As the yellow flew during green flag pit cycles, the 2 Crew caught a break as they had not yet visited pit road, and allowing them to take a few positions. Pitting for a fresh set of tires and fuel, it lined the Deuce up for a fifth-place restart on lap 91, where Greg Biffle took a spot away.

Nine laps into the run on lap 100, Brad took the spot back from Biffle and held it until the lap 132 debris caution. Pitting under crew chief Paul Wolfe’s direction for another set of Goodyear Eagles, and getting topped off on fuel, he gained a spot—and the preferred outside line for the restart on lap 140.

Using the outside line to his advantage, he passed Matt Kenseth to put himself in third, before Kenseth took the spot back on lap 164. Thirty laps later, Kahne once again passed BK, but both drivers passed Joey Logano, keeping Brad in fourth when the lap 211 debris caution flew. Complaining of a loose car in the entry of Phoenix’s treacherous turns, BK entered pit road, but he overshot his entry, skidding through the pit box. 

2016 NASCAR Phoenix

Lining up for the lap 218 restart from P12, green flag action didn’t even last for a lap as Austin Dillon went for a loop. Understanding their situation, Wolfe called BK back in to top off on fuel, hoping they could go the distance of the race. Restarting 10th on lap 229, he passed McMurray and Harvick on the opening lap, and held his ground there until a lap 256 caution for a wreck involving Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Newman.

Pitting once again for a splash of fuel, and another set of fresh rubber, Brad missed his pit stall again and restarted 15th behind a few drivers who stayed out on track. Five laps after taking the green, another debris caution flew with the No. 2 up to 13th, passing AJ Allmendinger and Ryan Blaney. Restarting on lap 269, he took a spot from Edwards for 12th, and McMurray for 11th, before Blaney took his position back.

Holding onto P12, it looked as if they were set up to finish there when Michael McDowell’s tire failed coming to the white flag lap.

Setting up for an Overtime finish, Brad wanted all the grip he could have for the upcoming chaos as he took their final set of fresh tires. When the restart happened, leaders Matt Kenseth and Alex Bowman got together, ending Kenseth’s second championship hopes.

Once the second Overtime restart got underway from 15th, BK was able to pick up a spot and end the day right where he started it. Meanwhile, Logano carried the Team Penske banner all the way to Victory Lane, punching his ticket in the Championship 4, along with Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch.

“Congratulations to Joey Logano and the No. 22 Ford team on getting to Homestead with a shot at the championship,” Kes said. “It was a goal for both he and I to win the Sprint Cup championship in Roger’s (Penske) 50th year in motorsports.”

The Sprint Cup Series finale, the Ford EcoBoost 400, kicks off on Sunday Nov. 20 at 2:30p.m. ET, live on NBC.

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