Keselowski and Larson salvage strong finishes at Charlotte, advance to Round of 12

It was an up and down day for Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Team Penske team. Keselowski qualified 11th and led three laps before having to settle for a fifth-place finish. At one point, he had to pit after he locked up the tires in the front stretch chicane. With the help of late-race cautions, Keselowski rallied to a top-five finish and advances to the Round of 12.

“It was a pretty miserable day,” Keselowski said to PRN Radio in describing the conditions. “I joked with the boss on the radio, I’m not running black cars on a day like today. It is what it is, the red flag was pretty brutal. That’s part of being a racecar driver is dealing with that. The car was okay today, just made the most with what we had. The 9 car was just flying, no one could touch him all day. We did the best we could and got a decent finish out of it.”

Keselowski finished sixth in Stage 1 and second in Stage 2. He will be seeded seventh when the Round of 12 begins at Dover, 22 points behind Kyle Busch.

Kyle Larson had a decent day as well. He got lucky toward the end of Stage 1 passing William Byron before the caution came out to end the stage under yellow. Larson wound up winning the stage. He didn’t get a top-10 stage finish in the second stage but came home with a somewhat disappointing 13th place finish after being strong early.

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“I felt like myself, William (Byron) were the next best,” Larson told PRN Radio. “We won the first stage then after that pit stop, I didn’t wait on them to pull tape and kind of drug the crew member out of the pit box. Got a penalty there, pretty stiff one and had to lose a lap. Got the lucky dog, thought we were going to be okay.”

“There at the end, we were on older tires, we had a slow stop because we had damage and couldn’t get the right front out. So ended up 13th, but felt like we could easily have been in the top three. Just disappointed with our finish to show how good our car was.”

Larson moves to the Round of 12 seeded eighth, 40 points behind Busch.

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