Early end to Coca-Cola 600 especially frustrating for Keselowski

Everyone wanted the Coca-Cola 600 to go the distance, but no one more than Brad Keselowski.

“It’s pretty disappointing,” Keselowski said of his second-place finish in the weather-shortened race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. “I felt like we had a car to win the race. We kind of ran down the 20 car [Christopher Bell] twice and just didn’t get to see it play out. So, it kind of slipped through our fingers there. I would have liked to have just had more laps and ran the Coke 600.”

Keselowski was scored second to Bell when the final caution flew on lap 245 for rain. It quickly escalated to a red flag for lightning and then a severe thunderstorm moved into the area. NASCAR declared the race official about two hours later.


“But all in all, I’m really happy with our performance,” Keselowski said. “The car was really fast. Our pit stops were phenomenal. We just didn’t get to see it through. I’m bummed for our team. I’m bummed for everybody, but the weather is what the weather is.”

The RFK Racing driver started the night in 30th position. But by the end of the first stage, through speed and pit cycles, Keselowski was eighth. He was fifth at the end of the second stage.

As weather approached the area, the third stage came down to what ended up being the final pit stop under a lap 229 caution. Keselowski came off pit road second to Bell and restarted on the outside of the front row. But Bell dispatched the field and Keselowski missed his opportunity to be in the right place at the right time when weather ended the night.

Keselowski thought he had something for Bell…right before the conditions brought an end to the race. Motorsport Images

“I think everybody knew the situation,” Keselowski said. “I can’t claim ignorance to that. We were going as hard as we could. I feel like I needed another 10 laps or so to be able to make a pass, but that’s not how it played out.”

The effort was Keselowski’s second consecutive top-two finish on an intermediate track. Keselowski won the series’ most recent points race on an intermediate — Darlington Raceway — and was 11th at Kansas Speedway in the race prior. Between Kansas, Darlington and Charlotte, Keselowski combined for 39 laps led.

“It was good to be that fast,” he said. “You want to make it count with wins. You don’t want to be a sore loser for second, but it stings because I know we had a car to win today and if it doesn’t hurt, you’re in the wrong business. We’ve got a lot of work to do on our short track program and our road course program, but our mile-and-a-half stuff seems really good right now.”

Story originally appeared on Racer