Keselowski upset over treatment of team
FORT WORTH, Texas – Considering everything that happened to the No. 2 Ford team of Brad Keselowski, a ninth-place finish could have been cause for celebration Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway.
Keselowski wasn't having any of that.
"I have one good thing to thing to say and that was my team and the effort they put in today in fighting back with the absolute (expletive) that's been the last seven days in this garage area," Keselowski said. "The things I've seen over the last seven days have me questioning everything I believe in. I'm not happy about it. I don't have anything positive to say and I probably should just leave it at that."
Just getting in the 500-mile Sprint Cup race was difficult for Keselowski and his Penske Racing teammate Joey Logano.
Both teams had their rear-end housings confiscated in pre-race inspection with team owner Roger Penske saying NASCAR didn't like something in the rear axles. That led to both teams struggling to get through inspection. Keselowski's car made it to the race grid during driver introductions and he was able to maintain his 16th starting spot.
Logano's No. 22 Ford needed three tries to get through inspection and didn't make it to the track until the engines had been fired. He had to start at the back of the field and made a remarkable run, finishing fifth.
But the pre-race inspection cloud still hung over the teams following the race. The teams could face penalties for the violation, although a NASCAR official wouldn't elaborate on the issue.
"There was a problem in pre-race inspection with the 2 and the 22," a NASCAR official said. "As always, NASCAR will take a look at it during the first of the week."
While Keselowski wouldn't elaborate on all the issues for him over the last week, he finished sixth at Martinsville despite a lengthy pit stop caused when he was forced to back up so that he was not pitting outside the box. Replays showed his stop was legal.
The bad mojo for the defending Sprint Cup champ continued at TMS, even though he caught a break on the last caution and was able to get back on the lead lap.
"There's so much stuff going on you guys have no idea, you have no (expletive) idea what's going on," said Keselowski, who is second in points. "That's not your fault. I can tell you there's no team in this garage with the integrity of the 2 team. And the way we've been treated over the last seven days is absolutely shameful. I feel like we've been targeted over the last seven days more than I've seen a team targeted in my life."
If a possible penalty involves crew chief Paul Wolfe, Keselowski made it clear that he would fight it.
"I'm very worried about losing my crew chief Paul Wolfe," said Keselowski, whose post-race comments may only add to any potential penalties. "I've got one of the best car owners (Roger Penske) in the garage and I'm going to be one of the first ones at his desk telling him if anything happens like that we'll both be in a meeting with anybody and everybody that will listen."
Penske was a little more diplomatic in his assessment of the weekend.
"NASCAR has a job to do," he said. "We're competitors. Obviously, we're trying to get an edge on the competition so our guys are thinking and working hard. They (NASCAR) didn't like what they saw in inspection and made us take it out. You saw how well we ran without it. So to me it's a closed case."
While issues surrounded the Penske drivers before and after the race, those drivers did nothing but excel once the green flag dropped.
Despite working with new rear-end housings, Logano was just outside the top 20 just 50 laps into the race, as was Keselowski. That was a trend that continued throughout the race. Logano's car was better than his teammate's for much of the race and he was running as high as fourth with 50 laps remaining. He also got a bonus point for leading a lap under caution and leaves Texas ninth in points, up two spots.
He was a little more upbeat than Keselowski following the race.
"If you told me I would finish fifth today, I would have given you a hug," said Logano, who got on the track late enough that he missed one of the warm-up laps. "It was hectic a little bit."
Keselowski, who was a lap down most of the night, got the break he needed after a caution for debris flew on Lap 315. That put him back on the lead lap in the 16th spot.
He charged to a top-10 finish and was still charged up after the race.