NASCAR

Keselowski, team miss on fuel timing

NASCAR Keselowski Bayne
Brad Keselowski maintains a seven-point lead in the standings.
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Larry McReynolds

Larry McReynolds has more than 30 years of NASCAR experience as a mechanic, Daytona 500-winning crew chief and broadcaster. He earned 23 Sprint Cup wins as a crew chief, including two victories in the prestigious Daytona 500, as well as a pair of non-points victories in the annual all-star race. Follow him on Twitter.

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With Brad Keselowski running out of fuel during the NASCAR Sprint Cup race Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway, it definitely points out that he and his Penske Racing team are vulnerable and they are not bulletproof in fuel-mileage races.

They had their game plan in place, but I think the issue that was thrown at them was they didn’t get the car packed full of fuel on that trip to pit road before they ran out and then they didn’t, like Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson, come back to pit road and top off near the tail end of that final caution period there with about 110 laps to go.

But the biggest thing is, they still have the points lead. In a mile-and-a-half track race where they ran out of fuel under green, they still finished 11th and, right now, that is their worst finish in the Chase for the Sprint Cup – and they led the most laps in the race.

Even though the other three mile-and-a-half tracks that we’ll be going to in the Chase – Kansas this week, Texas in three weeks and even Homestead-Miami Speedway – are each a little different, I still think someone that ran well at Charlotte will do the same at Kansas, at Texas and at Homestead.

Keselowski and his Penske Racing team led the most laps and they got the point for that.

The biggest thing they want to do – and that’s what kind of devastated them Saturday night – is carry a pretty decent points lead into Martinsville in two weeks.

Brad doesn’t have a lot of starts at Martinsville and he doesn’t have a lot of stellar finishes there either. And we know his two biggest nemeses, Hamlin and Johnson, have a combined 10 wins at that half-mile track.

So Brad has to have that on his mind now.

Tagged: Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski

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