Keselowski and Kenseth: What a difference a week makes

Reid Spencer - NASCAR Wire Service Monday, Oct 20 1358

As luck would have it, the driver who had Brad Keselowski in a headlock on Oct. 11 helped push Keselowski’s No. 2 Team Penske Ford to victory in Sunday’s GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

With drafting help on the final restart from Matt Kenseth, with whom Keselowski had tangled on and off the track at Charlotte a week earlier, Keselowski got the win he desperately needed to advance to the Eliminator Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

“If he (Kenseth) could have flipped him to win the race, he probably would have,” quipped third-place finisher Clint Bowyer. “That’s just competition. Matt needed to push the 2 to get his best position and get himself in an overall shot to win the race.

“It doesn't matter if it's your worst enemy out there or your best friend, your closest friend, as far as racers go, you've got to use ‘em. He was using the 2 car as much as the 2 car was using him at that point.”

Kenseth saw the final laps in essentially the same way. He had planned to go with Kevin Harvick but circumstances dictated another course of action as Kenseth tried to finish as high as he could to earn a spot in the Eliminator Round of the Chase.

“You have to do what's best for your best finish,” Kenseth explained. “Kevin had a really good run. I pushed Kevin really hard. I didn't feel I had a ton of speed. When Kevin went up to go three wide, and Brad went to chase him, I couldn't really follow Kevin, get stuck out three wide. I figured three or four guys would get by me. Not knowing the exact points, knowing we had to finish in front of the 5 (Kasey Kahne), especially if the 2 won, I knew my path to the best finish was going to be at the bottom there.

“Got a good push off of Turn 2. If it would have been a little farther down the straightaway, I think I would have had enough speed to get under Brad and might have had a shot for the win. But he went all the way across the track and just had enough room to get down in front of me.

“Like I said, that's where I felt I had to put my car for my best chance at the best finish. All those guys were pretty quick up there. Got a good restart, got a good run. It's just how it turned out.”