Through the first four segments of Saturday’s NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Brad Keselowski appeared to be in control.
Having led 49 of 100 laps, the driver of the No. 2 Ford was set to enter the final 10-lap segment in the front of the pack. But as opposed to a mad dash to the finish line, a sprint out of pit road led to a ninth-place finish.
With Denny Hamlin racing down pit road after the mandatory four-tire pit stop, Keselowski gassed it to beat Hamlin out to the track. But he hit the pedal too much.
Keselowski was hit with a speeding penalty and forced to the back of the race, sealing his fate.
“I knew when I came out of my pit stall and the 11 was pulling out with me that I either beat him to that line or lose the race,” Keselowski said. “The penalty was I was three-tenths of a mile over the speed limit. But I told my crew chief I’d rather go down swinging than take a strike and wonder what might have been. I swung and missed.”
Keselowski used a two-tire pit stop following the first segment to finish in first place in the second segment. The Team Penske driver’s momentum carried over to the third segment, as he procured a second first-place finish. But Keselowski’s early success proved to not be enough.
“In this sport, it doesn’t matter what you’ve done, it matters what you’re going to do,” he said. “(I have) just enough confidence to be proud of what we’ve done, but I failed this time the task at hand.”