May 25, 2024: NASCAR races at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina . (HHP/Jacy Norgaard)
Brad Keselowski finished second at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday. (HHP/Jacy Norgaard)

Keselowski ‘Had A Car To Win The Race’ At Charlotte

CONCORD, N.C. — Two weeks removed from his triumph at Darlington Raceway, Brad Keselowski had a chance to do it again. At the very least, he thought that he had a car capable enough to do so. 

But a storm thwarted those plans. Running second at the time, NASCAR threw the red flag for lightning in the area, and after torrential rain, the race never resumed. Christopher Bell won and Keselowski never had another chance to run down the rapid No. 20 car. 

“It’s pretty disappointing. I felt like we had a car to win the race,” Keselowski said. “I’m really happy with our performance. The car was really fast. Our pit stops were phenomenal. We just didn’t get to see it through. I’m bummed for our team. I’m bummed for everybody, but the weather is what the weather is.”

Keselowski’s weekend didn’t start to plan, qualifying 30th after a miscue on his qualifying lap. Certainly, he had some early heavy lifting. 

He quickly entered the mix though, making it up to eighth at the end of Stage One after the first 88 laps went caution-free. He finished fifth in Stage Two, securing a solid points day regardless of the result. 

After a caution for a Corey Lajoie spin on lap 230, Keselowski raced off pit road second — only behind Bell. Teams informed their drivers that weather was closing in, meaning the lap 236 restart could be the race for the win. 

Ultimately, Bell prevailed. He bested Keselowski after restarting on the inside, and 10 laps later, NASCAR called a caution for precipitation. A few laps later, that turned into an extended red flag for a thunderstorm. 

NASCAR began drying the track after the storms cleared, but at 11:30 p.m. ET, it called the race.

“We kind of ran down the 20 car twice and just didn’t get to see it play out. So it kind of slipped through our fingers there,” Keselowski said. “I would have liked to have just had more laps and ran the Coke 600. I think we ran the Coke 350 today.

“I think we had more speed than him, but there was a pretty big air advantage that he had and as laps would go on the aero grip gets displaced by the mechanical grip and then we could take him, but the leader – I feel like the 20 car was the second-best car today, but he was still the second-best car, so to be able to displace him we needed him to fall off and that’s only gonna happen with laps and catching the back of the pack and we just didn’t get that.”

“We were going as hard as we could. I feel like I needed another 10 laps or so to be able to make a pass, but that’s not how it played out.”

Regardless, the fortune is turning for Keselowski and his No. 6 RFK Racing team. He’s locked into the playoffs with the Darlington win and has finishes of second or better in four of the last six races, dating back to Texas Motor Speedway in April. 

And with Kyle Larson missing the race for Indianapolis 500 obligations, the race for the regular-season championship remains wide open. 

“I think we moved up to [ninth], which is nice and the highest Ford,” Keselowski said regarding points. “It was good to be that fast. You want to make it count with wins. You don’t want to be a sore loser for second, but it stings because I know we had a car to win today and if it doesn’t hurt, you’re in the wrong business.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do on our short track program and our road course program, but our mile-and-a-half stuff seems really good right now.”