Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway (two-mile superspeedway, Fontana, Calif.)
Sunday, March 23, 3:00 pm ET
The No. 2 Wurth Ford Fusion
Driver: Brad Keselowski
Starting Position: 2
Finish Position: 26
Driver's Points Position: 4
THE RACE REVIEW
· Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Wurth Ford Fusion team began Sunday’s race at Auto Club Speedway from the front row after earning a second-place starting spot during Friday afternoon’s elimination qualifying. The effort marked Keselowski’s fourth consecutive front row qualifying result of the 2014 season.
· Keselowski, who entered the weekend as the Sprint Cup Series point leader, took command of the race lead from the outset and led several times during the early portion of the event. In all, Keselowski led five times for 38 laps.
· As the race progressed, wear on the tires began to be a concern for many of the fast cars in the field.
· At Lap 56 a caution flag proved to be a crucial point in the race for the No. 2 Wurth Ford. When the pit lane opened under caution the light that indicated the pits were closed was illuminated while the flag displayed showed the pits were open. Keselowski paid heed to the light – staying out on track when the plan was to pit. The team elected to stay out to hold track position, but Keselowski fell to 38th in the running order with older tires before the next caution period allowed him to visit pit lane.
· Once the No. 2 Ford returned to the racing surface on the same pit stop cycle as the leaders with fresh rubber, Keselowski began making his way back towards the front of field.
· By the halfway point of the race, Keselowski had worked his way to 12th place.
· While the No. 2 Wurth Ford was fast out front, it didn’t perform as well in traffic. The Team Penske Wurth Ford pit crew made adjustments to improve the car over the latter part of the race, however. By Lap 190, Keselowski was running inside the top four when the No. 2 car suffered a flat left rear tire. Keselowski had to pit under the green flag and he lost two laps to the leaders in the process.
· The event concluded with a green-white-checkered flag finish that saw Keselowski come home in a disappointing 26thplace.
· With the result, Keselowski and the No. 2 Wurth Ford team dropped to fourth place in the championship standings as he now trails leader Carl Edwards by just four points.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
BRAD KESELOWSKI, NO. 2 WURTH FORD
YOU LOOKED POSITIONED FOR A TOP-FIVE FINISH WITH 10 LAPS TO GO AND HAD A TIRE GO DOWN. TELL US WHAT HAPPENED.
“There were a lot of reasons why we blew a tire today or two or five over the weekend and the field did. I don’t know what to really say about it. As a driver you are left between the choice of driving your car to the limit and blowing a tire out or trying to save it. I saved it as best as I could. That is what you had to do. It was the box we were all in today. I pushed it hard on the last run and I was one of at least three guys that blew a tire. It was really unfortunate. If I didn’t push the car hard I wasn’t going to have a good day.”
IN A SITUATION LIKE TODAY, HOW MUCH DOES IT HELP THAT YOU’VE HAD SOME SUCCESS AND ALREADY POSTED A WIN THIS SEASON?
“Yeah, we did have to pedal a bit today and I don’t like doing that. That is the reality of the situation we were in today. On the last run I was glad we had a win under our belt and didn’t have to worry about if we were going to blow a tire or not. I’m thankful that was the case, because we did.”