Brian Keselowski Left Disappointed after Toledo Pit Miscueby Kyle Pokrefky May 23, 2016
TOLEDO, Ohio — Shortly after the halfway mark of the Menards 200 at Toledo Speedway on Sunday, Brian Keselowski appeared to have a race-winning strategy under his belt – even if his team accidentally stumbled upon it.
Voluntarily pitting for four tires during a caution period with 75-to-80 laps to go due to a right rear tire that was going flat, Keselowski took the green flag down the order in terms of track position but with the optimal strategy at the time.
The driver of the No. 5 Keselowski-Gerhart Racing Ford’s four fresh General Tire tires had Keselowski tearing through the leaders in front of him on older rubber. If the race were to go green for the remainder of the 200-lap race, Keselowski was looking to be well on his way to his fourth career win in the ARCA Racing Series.
Unfortunately for him, the race didn’t quite pan out that way as debris in Turn 3 brought out the yellow flag with less than 45 laps to go.
“We got forced into a four-tire strategy there with about 75-to-80 to go,” Keselowski said. “We had a flat right rear tire and I felt something was going on in the car and I said “We’re going to have to pit and put tires on here.” It was a good deal because we got lucky and we caught the tire before it went all the way flat.
“So that forced our hand and now we were hoping for no cautions and unfortunately a car running around six or seven laps down drops a quarter panel on the race track and I don’t know why they didn’t just pull in and fix it, but they didn’t.”
Keselowski elected to pit to make a wedge adjustment on the car to keep up with the cars pitting for fresh tires and made his way off of the pit lane first, albeit with the wedge wrench still on the car.
The infraction forced Keselowski to pit once more to remove the left behind equipment and sent him
“I don’t even know if to say it’s bad luck or to say if it’s something I’m doing wrong, but it just can’t seem to work it out right,” Keselowski stated. “We’ll keep working on it and try to get our luck a little better.”
The result particularly stings considering the fact that Keselowski had been coming to the track on what was a shoestring budget.
The goal for the No. 5 team was to compete at the first three short track events of the season and use strong finishes to hopefully nail down sponsorship. While there wasn’t much luck on the sponsorship front entering Toledo, Keselowski is hoping to put something together to enter additional races down the line.
“If I had to say I could race any more races this year, it’d be lucky,” Keselowski said. “We tried to go to these first three and see if we could come up with sponsorship and come up with anything, and we haven’t come up with a dime. It’s so hard to do if you can’t come up with some kind of money and a little bit of funding. We don’t even have to have that much, but we have to have enough to do it right.
“I want to come here with a shot to win. You need to buy the tires you need and you need to pay the people to come and help with the pit crew. It just costs money and unfortunately we’re not there yet. Hopefully, we can come up with something, but we’re going to keep trying.”
Photo Credit: Kyle Pokrefky/The Fourth Turn