After starting 12th, Keselowski who scored back to back wins at Bristol in 2011-2012, was able to move into the top 10 but only briefly. He faded but was running inside the top 20. Then on lap 446 any hopes Keselowski had for a decent finish went up in a cloud of smoke and sparks as his Ford was caught up in a multi-car crash set off when Denny Hamlin lost a right front tire and slammed into the outside wall. The ensuing melee swept up a total of seven cars including Keselowski.
Keselowski was able to make it to the pits and the crew made repairs and got him back out. At the end of the night, Keselowski was scored in 30th place, the exact same spot he finished in this race last season. Worse for Keselowski he fell outside the top ten in points and leaves Bristol 11th in the standings. With no wins to date this season, Keselowski is currently not even eligible for a wild card spot. That currently belongs to either Martin Truex Jr. or Ryan Newman both of whom are outside the top ten, but who have one win each.
As he has in the past few weeks, Keselowski said he remains anxious about his Chase hopes especially after Saturday night's finish.
“I’m not in a better position,” Keselowski told Examiner. “I’m not going to be out of the worried zone unless I make it or it’s over. That’s my job as a race car driver.”
Keselowski was adamant that he isn’t about to give up.
“We’ve got two races left (before the Chase field is set),” he said. “I think they’ll be good race tracks for us. Obviously today was not a great day for us. We’ve tested at the next two tracks and we’re going to be very competitive. I feel like this is going to come down to the last lap at Richmond and I’m ready for that battle.”
Keselowski and his Penske team have indeed tested at the next two tracks on the schedule, this Sunday’s stop in Atlanta followed by the following Saturday night race at Richmond which will set the field for the 2013 Chase. That gives a little comfort to Keselowski.
“Yeah, it gives me more confidence,” he said. “We didn’t have the speed we needed here, but we obviously weren’t a 30th-place team. It was just the way things fell.”
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