Carl Edwards was able to close within a few feet of Brad Keselowski on the final lap of what turned out to be a fuel mileage race in Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway, but it still wasn’t enough to make a pass for the win.
After it appeared that Keselowski was running out of gas coming to the white flag, the Team Penske driver managed to save what had to be just a few ounces to make it across the finish line ahead of Edwards for the victory.
"I thought he (Keselowski) was out of fuel, and he wasn’t," said Edwards after the race. "He played it perfectly. He let me get to him and then stood on it. But we had an opportunity to win the race, and I really appreciate my crew chief putting us in that position and TRD and the power and the fuel mileage that we get. Those are great engines."
"We had a shot at it, we just weren’t able to do it. Saved a little too much," he added.
Keselowski grabbed his third win at Kentucky and fourth of the season, while Edwards scored his eighth top-five finish of the year.
Edwards was even impressed with how well Keselowski executed his fuel-saving strategy, despite how much it hurt him to say it.
"I thought he was out of fuel coming off of 4, but he actually did it very well," said Edwards. "If he didn’t beat me, I’d be more impressed. But I don’t know how that works. I guess I’m impressed that he did beat me, but I don’t want to be."
"He basically shut the car off and went right off of 4 and matched it perfectly to where I couldn’t get by him down the front straightaway and then he ran like heck through (Turns) 1 and 2, and then I thought maybe he’ll run out down the back straight," added the Joe Gibbs Racing driver. "Man, I dove it down in there trying to catch him into 3, and I couldn’t even get to him."
Despite a strong second-place finish for Edwards and a night that could have gone way worse if he hadn’t saved enough fuel, Edwards couldn’t help but be a little disappointed.
"I had the whole thing figured out. I was pretty sure we were going to win it," he said. "But that’s the way it goes. These are the best (drivers) in the world, and they always have an ability to pull something out, so they surprised me tonight."