Brad Keselowski led a race-high of 105 laps, but got shuffled back on the final restart and wound up with a mediocre finish in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
Starting from pole position, Keselowski led all but three laps that fell during a cycle of green flag stops, and won the first stage.
He continued his dominant run through the second stage, only ceding the race lead on Lap 111 to hit pit road. This time, however, Martin Truex Jr., who pitted a few laps earlier, cycled ahead of him in the running order. This lead to Truex taking over the race lead when the pit cycle concluded and winning the second stage, with Keselowski finishing second.
On the ensuing restart on Lap 128, Keselowski raced side-by-side with Truex for 75 percent of the lap, before edging ahead of Truex exiting Turn 4 to take the race lead. But Truex powered by him to retake the lead the next lap, and Keselowski didn’t return to the lead again.
He took just right-side tires on, what was originally, the final round of stops with 39 laps to go to regain lost track position. Truex still cycled ahead of him, but he found himself in position to end the day with a solid finish. A flurry of late cautions, however, pushed him down the running order.
Keselowski restarted 11th on the overtime restart, but was swallowed up on the bottom lane and wound up finishing 17th.
“It just didn’t come together there at the end, but it was nice to lead a bunch of laps,” Keselowski said. “That was good and something I was really proud of, but I just didn’t have enough to really run with the 77 and the 78. We tried a little strategy to kind of get something out of it, but the way it all played out I ended up getting the bottom lane on the restarts and getting absolutely swallowed. We tried. We put in as much effort as we could. We knew we didn’t have as much as those two, but we gave it 100 percent effort and I was really proud of my team for that.”
Keselowski leaves Michigan fifth in points, 213 back of Truex.