Brad Keselowski overcame an early setback Sunday afternoon at Auto Club Speedway to finish seventh in the Castrol Edge Ford.
“We didn’t have a great start to the race … wasn’t driving really well, and I wasn’t really happy with it,” Keselowski said. “Matt [McCall] and the crew just kept working on it. We had a couple of good adjustments there, got spun out and then recovered it. It was good to be able to recover. Just need a little more speed. Not quite where we need to be, but we weren’t terribly far off.”
Weather dominated the headlines throughout the weekend in Fontana with rain washing out all of Saturday’s on-track activity. With snow in the mountainous background of the 2-mile track, rain fortunately stayed away throughout the day Sunday allowing for the full 400-mile race to be completed.
Keselowski lined up 16th on the grid based off NASCAR’s metric to determine the starting lineup. With no on-track activity prior to Sunday NASCAR also mandated a competition caution to fly at lap 15.
Following the yellow and the team’s first pit stop of the afternoon, Keselowski was the reason for the next yellow at lap 41 as he was tagged by the No. 7 resulting in a spin. Fortunately he didn’t sustain any severe damage but lost a lap to the leaders.
He was the lucky dog recipient when a caution flew at lap 74, putting him back on the lead lap able to charge through the field. He narrowly avoided incident when the field wrecked on a restart just after lap 80, but again suffered no damage. He fired back off 25th on the ensuing restart, and from there worked his way through the field to finish ninth in stage two picking up two stage points.
The Castrol pit crew picked off a few spots on pit road under the stage break putting Keselowski seventh for the start of the third and final stage, setting him up with top-10 position for the final 70-lap run. The race’s final caution flew just three laps into the stage with Keselowski rolling back eighth as he mixed it up inside the top five for a few laps with the leaders. From there, a green flag stop separated the field from the checkered flag with the No. 6 eventually pitting from the second position at lap 170.
Keselowski went on to pick his way through the top-10 in the closing laps peeking at a top five finish before ultimately crossing the line seventh.
The No. 6 team returns to action next week as the West Coast swing rolls on in Las Vegas. Race coverage next Sunday is set for 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, with radio coverage on PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.