Keselowski's No. 2 Ford fails post-race inspection at Phoenix Raceway
RELATED: Full race results " Updated standings " Detailed breakdown Brad Keselowski's No. 2 Team Penske Ford team could face penalties this week after his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series ride failed post-race inspection at Phoenix Raceway on Sunday night. The No. 2 failed weights and measures after Keselowski piloted it to a fifth-place finish. No other cars failed post-race tech inspection. Ryan Newman's No. 31 race-winning Chevrolet, Kyle Larson's runner-up No. 42 entry and Kevin Harvick's No. 4 Ford will all head back to NASCAR's R&D Center in Concord, North Carolina, for further routine inspection.
Truex sidesteps Keselowski , rallies to Vegas win
RELATED : Race results " Series standings " Detailed breakdown SHOP: Truex gear LAS VEGAS -- In a race whose aftermath left hometown driver Kyle Busch with a bloody forehead, Martin Truex Jr. passed the faltering car of Brad Keselowski on the white-flag lap and cruised to a sweep of all three stages in Sunday's Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. As Truex approached the checkered flag to win a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race for the first time this season and the first time at Las Vegas, Joey Logano's Ford slid up into Kyle Busch's Toyota in a battle for third position. Busch spun into the inside wall on pit road and limped across the finish line in 22nd place. Logano salvaged fourth behind Truex, runner-up Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott, but the battle wasn't over when Truex took the checkers. Busch hustled up pit road to confront Logano and threw a punch at Logano's head. Logano's crew stepped into the fray, and took Busch to the pavement. In the melee, Busch sustained a bloody bruise to his forehead. RELATED: Busch, Logano mix it up That battle stole some of the thunder from the afternoon-long battle between the dominant cars of Truex, who led 150 of the 267 laps, and Keselowski , who led 89. Keselowski appeared well on his way to his second straight Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory when he radioed suddenly that something had broken on his No. 2 Team Penske Ford. As Keselowski slowed on the next-to-last lap, Truex passed him off Turn 2. Busch and Logano ducked to the inside to avoid Keselowski on the backstretch and made contact as they approached Turn 3. Logano drove hard into the corner and couldn't keep his car beneath Busch's through Turns 3 and 4. RELATED: Drivers react to incident " See up-close angle of fight But if Busch and Logano came to blows, Truex had nothing but reason to celebrate his serendipitous victory in the newly-redesigned 2018 Toyota Camry. This win was his eighth in the series, with four coming last year, and he became the first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver to sweep all three stages of a single race under the competition format adopted this season. "We definitely had our share of races where we've dominated and gave one away, and it looked like today was going to be another one of those," said Truex, who fell behind Keselowski after a restart on Lap 259. "The runs just didn't work out the way we needed them. We were struggling on the really long runs. "We had to run that last set of tires on that last caution longer than we did all race long (from Lap 211 until caution for Danica Patrick's blown engine on Lap 252. I was out of control, and Brad was really good on the long run. I hate that he had problems. He was strong and we weren't going to do anything with him, but then he lost the brakes or something. A little bit of a gift, but we've given some away, so it feels good to come out on the good end for once." Keselowski , who held on to the fifth spot, was on the receiving end of a gift last week in Atlanta, when Kevin Harvick sped on pit road and surrendered the lead late in the second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race of the season. Accordingly, the driver of the No. 2 Ford was philosophical about the change in fortunes at Las Vegas. But he didn't know precisely what had happened to his car. "No, they'll have to take it apart," Keselowski said. "At the end, we have to go to inspection and stuff, so we're not allowed to look. I just know it was something major. It wouldn't turn and I lost brakes, so that's a pretty good indicator, but that's the way it goes. That's racing and that's why you watch until the end and you never know what's going to happen. "It's frustrating, but you put yourself in position to win and good things will happen. That happened to us last week and didn't happen this week, so you just pick up the pieces and move on. Luckily, they're really big pieces. We've got a lot to be proud of." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Keselowski : 'It was something pretty major'
Brad Keselowski explains why what was a dominant No. 2 Ford faded in the final laps of the Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Brad Keselowski Racing reveals '17 Truck Series lineup
CONCORD, N.C. -- Brad Keselowski Racing (BKR) announced its team lineup details for the 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) season at the National Motorsports Press Association annual convention in Concord, North Carolina. Austin Cindric will pilot the No. 19 Draw-Tite Ford F-150 and Chase Briscoe, who was recently named as the first driver in the Ford Performance development program, joins the organization as the driver of the No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford F-150. Cindric and Briscoe will both compete on a full-time basis as they pursue the NCWTS championship for BKR. Doug Randolph, who has been atop the pit box at BKR since 2012, will serve as crew chief for Cindric, while two-time NCWTS championship-winning crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. will lead the effort for Briscoe. "We're very fortunate to have partners like Cooper Standard and Horizon Global, with brands like Draw-Tite, Reese and Bulldog, that make it possible to give two young drivers an opportunity. And that's something I'm very proud of," team owner Brad Keselowski said. "Austin Cindric has already had success in various forms of racing, and has shown a lot of potential in our Ford F-150 race trucks. I certainly believe that Chase is ready to take the next step in his career, and we're excited to have him join the BKR family. He won the ARCA championship in his first full-time season, and he's proven to have the ability to learn quickly and win races. We're pleased to give both Austin and Chase the opportunity to compete full-time at a high level in NASCAR." Cindric, 18, has six NCWTS series starts dating back to Martinsville (Va.) Speedway in October 2015 -- all with BKR. He made four starts with BKR in 2016, qualifying a career-best second at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (Bowmanville, Ontario). Cindric scored victories in the ARCA Racing Series event at Kentucky Speedway and in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East races at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International and Virginia (Danville, Va.) International Raceway. "This is a massive opportunity from Brad and everyone at BKR who trusts me and believes in my abilities as a driver to move on to the next level for a full season," said Cindric. "2017 gets more and more exciting for me with every day that goes by. I've only done a handful of one-off races in my brief stock car career, so I'm really looking forward to having the same guys by my side week in and week out. I've spent a lot of time at the shop the last few weeks and I know everyone is really excited to get back racing." The past two seasons for Briscoe read like a Hollywood screenplay. The 22-year-old Mitchell, Indiana, native joined Cunningham Motorsports in 2015 as a volunteer in the team's shop, and just one year later, the rookie driver was celebrating the ARCA Racing Series Championship. Briscoe led the series in wins (six, including four consecutive victories) and poles (six). He finished with 14 top fives and 18 top-10 finishes in 20 races. "It's is an absolutely huge opportunity and such an honor to drive for Brad," said Briscoe. "The competition level in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is so high, but I'm going to be in the best equipment out there. It's really cool to once again be working with the Keselowski family. When I moved to North Carolina three years ago, I was helping Brian and Bob in their shop, so things have come full circle. I'm truly blessed with this opportunity, and I hope to make the most of it. At the end of the day, it's all about winning races and championships, and that's what I plan to do."
Brad Keselowski surges late for Atlanta victory
RELATED: Race results " Standings " Detailed breakdown SHOP: Keselowski gear HAMPTON, Ga. – Thanks to the unintentional generosity of the dominant driver in Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500, opportunistic Brad Keselowski won the second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race of the season. Kevin Harvick led 292 of the 325 laps at the 1.54-mile track, but a pit road speeding penalty under caution on Lap 311 sent him to the back of the field for the final restart. That gave Keselowski the chance he needed, and on Lap 319 he surged past Kyle Larson for the top spot and pulled away to win by .564 seconds. Larson came home second, followed by two drivers—Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne—who lost laps early but recovered to run third and fourth, respectively. Chase Elliott overcame a pit road speeding penalty incurred on a green-flag stop on Lap 212 to finish fifth. Keselowski overcame his own issues to put his No. 2 Team Penske Ford in position to win the race. Keselowski beat Harvick off pit road after stops under caution on Lap 264, but the lug nuts on his left rear wheel weren't tight, and Keselowski had to return to pit road and give up the No. 1 position for a restart on Lap 270. But Keselowski persevered, and by the time the final caution flag waved on Lap 309, he had worked his way up to third in the running order. When Harvick drew the penalty on Lap 311, Keselowski restarted third after pitting for tires, got past Kenseth in the first corner and tracked down Larson five laps later. "We had a lot of adversity today. There's no doubt about that," said Keselowski , who won for the first time at Atlanta and for the 22nd time in his career. "These races aren't easy. They're 500 miles, and a lot can happen, and when you think you've got it, they slip away. I know how it goes. "This one kind of fell in our lap at the end, and my team put it all together when it counted. They gave me a great Autotrader Ford Fusion, and we were able to get by Kyle there at the end. I knew that he wasn't going to be easy to pass. His car was great, and I was able to make the right moves to get by him." RELATED: See every one of Keselowski's wins
Keselowski captures Las Vegas pole for first time
BUY TICKETS: See the races in Las Vegas RELATED: Full lineup LAS VEGAS -- Brad Keselowski blew the first and second corners on his money lap in Friday's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Then he blew away the rest of the field. Perhaps "blew away" is a bit of an exaggeration. Keselowski covered the 1.5-mile distance in 27.881 (193.680 mph) to edge Martin Truex Jr. (193.458 mph) for the top starting spot in Sunday's Kobalt 400 (3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) by .003 seconds. The Coors Light Pole Award was Keselowski's first of the season, his first in nine attempts at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the 13th of his career. With most drivers in the final round stronger through the first two corners before tightening up in Turns 3 and 4, it is conceivable that missing 1 and 2 actually helped Keselowski's lap. "I don't know what the answer is," said Keselowski , the defending winner at Las Vegas and last week's winner at Atlanta. "I'll have to look through a bunch of data, and the smart guys -- the engineers and crew chiefs -- will probably point some of that stuff out to me. But, yeah, every time I looked at the tracker, the cars that were fast in 1 and 2 weren't in 3 and 4, and we were the opposite. "We were really good in 3 and 4… but we'll take it either way." Ryan Blaney qualified third after setting the fastest lap of the day (194.147 mph) in the second of the three rounds. Matt Kenseth will start fourth, followed by Kyle Larson and Joey Logano. Like Keselowski , Truex missed Turns 1 and 2 on the lap that counted but was strong through Turns 3 and 4 in securing his front-row starting spot. "I felt like we had a pretty well-put-together lap, but it wasn't perfect," Truex said. "Not quite as good through Turns 1 and 2 with the bumps as I'd like to be, and it felt like we hit 3 and 4 good. I felt like the bumps in 1 and 2 got us. "All in all, I felt like we just missed the pace a little bit. We were really strong in practice and thought (the track) would pick up quite a bit of speed tonight, and it didn't. That threw us a little bit of a curve and kind of hurt our setup. It was a good recovery. We made a lot of changes as qualifying went on and got better at the end. That's all you can ask for." After a strong start to the season in Daytona and Atlanta, the Stewart-Haas Racing cars were sluggish in Friday's time trials, with none of the four advancing to the final round. Series leader Kevin Harvick will start 19th on Sunday, two spots behind Daytona 500 winner Kurt Busch. Clint Bowyer was the fastest of the SHR drivers, earning the 13th starting position after missing the final round by .001 seconds. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Keselowski holds off Larson for Atlanta win
Brad Keselowski battles Kyle Larson in the final laps of the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Keselowski and Hendrick: What might have been
On April 18, 2009, Mark Martin won the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway . It was the 36th NASCAR premier series win for the 50-year-old driver and his first with team owner Rick Hendrick. A week and a day later, Brad Keselowski won the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway . It was the first career win for the 25-year-old, and the first premier series victory for independent car owner James Finch. Two distinctly different races won by two distinctly different drivers. Martin's NASCAR career was beginning to wind down; Keselowski's , on the other hand, appeared to have only just begun. But there was one string that tied the two together -- Hendrick Motorsports . HMS was home to Martin, Jimmie Johnson , Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr . And it was expected by many to be the future home of the up-and-coming kid from Rochester Hills, Michigan. But a collection of factors that came together throughout the course of that season altered the racing landscape as well as the career path of Keselowski . It would be nearly three years before the next driver change at HMS. By then Keselowski had not only found a new home, but he was also on his way to winning the Sprint Cup championship. 'I WAS NOT GOING TO LOSE' The sun was out and the grandstands were packed when the 2009 Aaron's 499, the season's ninth Sprint Cup race, went green for the final time. As race leader Ryan Newman tried to keep Earnhardt Jr., the crowd favorite, in check, Keselowski darted to the inside behind Carl Edwards on the track's massive backstretch. It was a move that didn’t seem to mean much at the time. But at the start-finish line with two laps remaining, Edwards and Keselowski shot to the outside entering Turn 1. "Here they come; look at the 99 and ..." NASCAR on FOX analyst Darrell Waltrip began. " Brad Keselowski ," lead announcer Mike Joy and co-analyst Larry McReynolds chimed in. When the white flag appeared, Edwards and Keselowski had caught and were beginning to pull away from Newman and Earnhardt Jr. Racing back through the tri-oval, Keselowski turned his No. 09 Chevrolet to the outside, and then quickly dropped to the bottom as Edwards moved up to block. Realizing the bottom lane was now open, Edwards reacted quickly -- but not quickly enough. Contact sent the No. 99 Ford spinning. Edwards' car came off the track briefly and was beginning to settle back onto the track it was struck by Newman's Chevrolet. The impact sent Edwards roof-first into the frontstretch catch fence. Meanwhile, Keselowski kept his foot in the gas, racing across the finish line for the win just ahead of Earnhardt Jr. "I was not going to lose," Keselowski said in his post-race winner's interview. "I was not going to lift and (I was going to) hold my ground and consequences be damned." A full-time competitor at the time for JR Motorsports (which, coincidentally, counts Earnhardt Jr. and Hendrick among its ownership group) in what is now the NASCAR XFINITY Series, Keselowski said he didn't know what the future held after his first premier series win. "I know I don't have anything locked in," he said. "That's really all I can say ... I don't have a job secured for next year, and everything to this point has been wait-and-see. I know this certainly can't hurt." But behind the scenes, moves were already underway. Finch's Phoenix Racing, which purchased it engines from HMS, had put Keselowski in the car at the suggestion of Hendrick. And the JRM/Hendrick pipeline, which grooms talent in the lower series to help restock the Sprint Cup program, was taking root. Keselowski had made two starts for Hendrick the previous year, and would make seven all together in '09, in addition to five races with Finch. Perhaps his future wasn't as cloudy as it appeared. "Rick had come out and told me, actually had made it a point to say to the media that he thought I was a future driver at Hendrick," Keselowski told NASCAR.com recently. There was only one problem. SWAN SONG? On July 4, 2008, HMS officials announced that Martin had signed a two-year agreement to drive the organization's No. 5 Chevrolet. According to the news release, Martin, who would run a full schedule in 2009, would "run a partial Sprint Cup schedule ... in 2010, sharing the No. 5 Chevy with a to-be-determined second driver.” By most accounts, that driver was expected to be Keselowski . But in May of '09, less than three weeks after Martin's Phoenix victory, HMS officials announced a revision to the '08 agreement. The veteran driver would return in 2010 to once again run the entire season. With Keselowski waiting in the wings and Martin winning and agreeing to return the following year, "Rick was kind of half pregnant," Keselowski said. "He (was) stuck. "My feeling was, after I had won Talladega, I'm going to get this 5 car ride partially next year, pair it with something else, let's go. I didn't know what it was going to be. We'll figure it out; let's go." A phone call and subsequent meeting with Hendrick, however, changed all that. "I was kind of expecting more of a 'Hey, we're going to expedite the process of clearing out the rest of this,' " Keselowski said of the meeting, "And instead I got a 'Hey, I don't have a ride for you. You need to figure something else out. I'll try to help.' "That was late April, early May of that year. My intent ... was to give him that time to kind of make right on it somehow, find a ride because he had made me the promise that I would have that car. It didn't sit all that well, but I understood the circumstances and so forth." Months passed and Keselowski busied himself with his full-time XFINITY Series effort at JRM while making a handful of Sprint Cup starts for Hendrick and Finch. Hendrick, in the meantime, was exploring the various avenues that might keep Keselowski in the HMS camp. Possible scenarios included Stewart-Haas Racing , at the time a two-team effort, and Red Bull Racing. Consideration was even given to fielding a Sprint Cup entry out of the JR Motorsports shop, according to the owner. But the pieces didn't fit and as the summer wore on, Keselowski's future remained uncertain. "I wanted him to wait a year," Hendrick told NASCAR.com. "... I don't remember all the details, but I do remember that Mark had done so well, and I had tried to talk (Mark) into staying. "I've told all our guys, the first time I sat down with Brad he impressed me because he was so intense about the whole car and wanted to be involved in everything. He was just so committed. I told our guys he's got the right attitude about racing and driving. I just needed him to wait." Waiting, though, wasn't part of Keselowski's plan. "My perception is a driver is a lot like a perishable fruit," Keselowski said. "You've got so much time, then he spoils and goes bad. There are a lot of variables, much like anything." PENSKE COMES CALLING The Keselowski family has always been involved in racing. Brad's father Bob was an ARCA Series standout and a former winner in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Ron Keselowski , an uncle, scored two top-five finishes in 68 premier series starts while older brother Brian Keselowski has one or more starts in all three of NASCAR's national series. "We knew the Keselowski name from being here in Detroit," Walt Czarnecki, an executive vice president at Penske Corp., said. "His dad, his uncle, all that. They would run out at MIS ( Michigan International Speedway ) when (Penske) owned the track." But it was a business associate, lawyer/agent John Caponigro, who brought up the young driver's name during a conversation in 2009. "We thought he was committed to Hendrick," Czarnecki said. "He'd been on loan to James Finch to run several races. But some things were changing." Conversations with Keselowski ensued, in Michigan as well as Mooresville, North Carolina, where Team Penske is headquartered. "All this time," Czarnecki said, "Still having this somewhat uncertain situation with Mr. Hendrick." Team Penske had grown from a two-team to a three-team organization in '08, fielding cars for drivers Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman and Sam Hornish Jr . In '09 Newman departed to join owner/driver Tony Stewart at Stewart-Haas Racing and 32-year-old David Stremme was brought on board to fill the open seat. But the Keselowski opportunity was intriguing, according to Czarnecki. "We've tried to sign on what we consider to be the best available young drivers with a great deal of potential that we could mold and have them grow in our organization," he said. "And I think that Brad certainly fit that description. "But above and beyond that, he had a bigger vision as to what role he wanted to play in terms of the development of the team. ... Just how he saw different things coming together ... "Some of it may have been a little unrealistic; some of it was certainly the enthusiasm of a young man who had a goal in mind. ... But he had this great enthusiasm and he had this great desire and this great commitment. And that appealed to us." With the Hendrick effort seemingly stalled, Keselowski went back to Penske with a request -- to compete full-time in both the Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series. In addition to its Sprint Cup effort, Team Penske was fielding one full-time XFINITY Series team with driver Justin Allgaier . Expanding that program to two teams running all the races was problematic, given the economy at the time. Told such a scenario was unlikely, Keselowski was left to consider his few available options. But Penske officials continued to work until enough of the appropriate pieces were in place. "Sure enough, Roger called me one night and said 'Alright, I've got it put together,' " Keselowski said. "It kind of caught me off guard. I was sold. That's it; he made it happen." "I couldn't sit around and wait. ... Roger had gone above and beyond to put something together that I felt like was the opportunity I needed. ... The economy was on its way down fast; Roger (through his various businesses) had a lot of immunities to the economy. Rick made it very clear to me that he was not going to invest himself without having a sponsor, and the economy was not in a spot where he could facilitate that." Hendrick had been aware of the Penske interest from the beginning, having had conversations with his fellow team owner about Keselowski's status. "Roger called me and asked me could he talk to him," Hendrick said. "I didn't want to stand in his way. Brad's a hell of a talent. It was a timing issue. "It's worked out for him. At his age it would have been nice if we could have kept him. ... If I got a call from Roger and I was in his spot I would have done exactly what he did." POSTSCRIPT On Sept. 1, 2009, Team Penske officials announced that the organization had signed Keselowski to compete full-time in both the Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series beginning the following season. Since then, Keselowski has won 17 Sprint Cup races, 28 XFINITY Series races and championships in both series. "I don't want to sound mercenary but he brought us our first Sprint Cup championship (in 2012)," Czarnecki said. "Because that vision that he outlined, we tried to work with him and bring people along, bring people into the organization, have him work with people like (crew chief) Paul Wolfe, it was really the realization of that vision. That's what it (has) meant. "And his intensity hasn't changed." Former teammates Busch and Hornish have departed, and fellow driver AJ Allmendinger has come and gone. Keselowski , now 32, is the veteran of a Penske group that now includes 25-year-old teammate Joey Logano . "I wasn’t looking to switch," Keselowski said. "If things would have gone the way they were supposed to go before Mark won that race at Phoenix, I would still be there."
Keselowski thrilled to get an early victory
Brad Keselowski discusses overcoming Kevin Harvick and Kyle Larson to win at Atlanta, where he says the old-school feel of Victory Lane is sweet.
Keselowski's patriotic burnout
Watch as Brad Keselowski waves an American flag during his burnout after winning the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
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