By: Jeff Wackerlin – @JWackerlin Twitter and Instagram | MRN.com on June 6, 2016 | 4:40 P.M. EST
On lap 24, NASCAR called Keselowski to pit road for an unapproved body modification. (Photo: Getty Images)
After starting from the pole in Monday’s rain-delayed Axalta “We Paint Winners” 400, Brad Keselowski rallied from an early race penalty to score a third-place finish.
Keselowski was called to pit road by NASCAR early to repair an unapproved body modification when it was viewed that the Jackman threw his shoulder into the right-side of the Miller Lite Ford. Keselowski visited pit road on lap 25 for repairs and then again for a pass through on lap 26, which placed him in the back of the pack.
By lap 110, Keselowski found himself back in the top 10 and then made his way back into the top five on lap 130 where he began to chase down second-place finisher Dale Earnhardt Jr. and eventual race winner Kurt Busch.
“We were strong, just need some more laps and a little bit more time and I think we might have had a shot at it,” Keselowski said. “All in all, a pretty decent weekend for us with the Miller Lite Ford and Team Penske. I’m proud of that effort to run up front and have another solid weekend.”
On lap 123, Keselowski was running sixth and was hit in the right-rear quarter panel by a spinning Jimmie Johnson.
“At the end, I think we were capable of winning the race – even with the right-side door torn up,” Keselowski said. “I guess we had a little contact when the 48 was spinning, so it shows how fast we were.”
Keselowski, who made 90 green flag passes in the race in his comeback towards the front, talked about how track position was key in the race.
“It was pretty obvious if you could get to the lead you had such an advantage,” Keselowski said. “Someone had to be three or four-tenths faster than you to pass, so we were just trying to keep the track position all day. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do that with the whatever penalty there, but we were able to drive back up there toward the end and thought we had a lot of speed. But every car I would pass it would take 10-15 laps just being stuck in the wake. That’s just part of it, I guess.”
Monday’s finish was Keselowski’s fifth consecutive top 10 of the season.
“We just want to keep it going,” Keselowski said. “I want to turn them into wins, but, all in all, a lot to be proud of and we’ll keep on going. We go to Michigan next week and hopefully we can get those two more spots.”