Brad Keselowski’s day turned south as soon as it started, but it was a long way from being over.
At the drop of the green flag, Denny Hamlin spun his tires causing Keselowski to get into the back of him as several cars stacked up.
The No. 2 Team Penske Ford dropped like a rock through the field before Keselowski got loose next to Ty Dillon and was spun by Jimmie Johnson.
With a ton of damage to the car after spinning through the grass, constant work to tape up the car allowed Keselowski to battle his way back through the field, grabbing a runner-up finish.
“It was great perseverance by the team with the Werth Ford Fusion,” Keselowski said. “I wanted to win but when I got out of the car and saw the damage, this thing is torn to pieces. I feel lucky to get second.”
It was a rough week overall for the Team Penske driver. Keselowski lost his crew chief Paul Wolfe for three weeks on Wednesday after failing post-race inspection at Phoenix last week.
The penalty cost him 35 driver points and put him in a rough position without his usual crew chief on the pit box. Brian Wilson replaced Wolfe as the crew chief at Auto Club.
With a backup crew chief and a ton of damage, Keselowski kept chipping away as caution after caution came out in the closing laps.
Heading into overtime, he restarted third and made his move as soon as the pack passed the start-finish line.
Keselowski battled with Clint Bowyer for second-place as Kyle Larson pulled away to victory.
“I’d be curious to see what we could have done if we weren’t torn up but great day for us to persevere despite adversity,” Keselowski said. “You’re going to have that in a 36-race season. It’s really important to have that as a team and I’m proud of them for that.”
gallery: Final running order from Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway