KANSAS CITY, Kansas — Brad Keselowski entered Sunday’s race at Kansas 25 points ahead of the Chase’s cutoff line for the second round. Thanks to a spin through the infield, Keselowski leaves Kansas seven points behind the line.
After starting eighth, Keselowski ran in the top 15 for most of the first half of the race. But any hopes of a top-10 finish disappeared when Keselowski’s car snapped loose exiting turn 4 on lap 190. He saved the car, but had to get out of the gas so much that Denny Hamlin had nowhere to go behind him.
Hamlin’s bump sent Keselowski’s car careening through the grass, which destroyed the front end of the car. He said that while he could have “laid up” at Kansas — potentially avoiding a scenario of pushing the car over the limit — he wanted to drive hard.
“I probably could have raced less hard with a big points gap coming in,” Keselowski said. “With this format I had a big points gap coming in. With this format it is probably the smart thing to do but I don’t want to race like that. I want to race my guts out and go for wins. I don’t want to points race. I don’t care what the damn format is, I am going to give it my best.”
Earlier in the week, Keselowski noted that the top seven drivers in the points standings could take it a bit easier at Kansas if they wanted to because of what happened at Charlotte. Five of the 12 Chase drivers finished 30th or worse a week ago. If the seven drivers who had success at Charlotte could simply maintain at Kansas and Talladega, they’d be part of the eight drivers moving on to the third round of the Chase.
After finishing seventh at Charlotte, Keselowski was fourth in the points standings. Now he’s 11th, and needing to pass three drivers in the standings if he wants to move on in the Chase after Talladega.
“I don’t think it is a must-win situation,” Keselowski said. “I am not worried about it. I am going to go there and bust my butt to try to win but I don’t think it is a must win yet.”
But Talladega has been good to Keselowski. He dramatically won there in 2014 to advance to the third round and won at the track earlier this spring.
“Talladega has been good to me and I am going to drive my butt off and at the end of the day I have faith that if it is meant to be it is meant to be,” Keselowski said. “We can’t get down. There is a long way to go still.”
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