Keselowski, Stenhouse crash in opening stage at Texas

Image by Kinrade/LAT

Keselowski, Stenhouse crash in opening stage at Texas


Keselowski, Stenhouse crash in opening stage at Texas


Brad Keselowski was trying to make up lost ground when he ended up crashing out in the early running of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.

To make matters worse, Keselowski was also hit from behind by a spinning Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Both drivers walked away from the hard hits they took on lap 55, but retired from the race with severe damage to their Ford Mustangs.

“I feel terrible for Ricky over there, he didn’t deserve to get caught up in it,” Keselowski said. “Just was real loose and trying to make something happen. When you’re getting passed by other cars, you kind of lose your confidence, and you say, ‘I got to try something,’ and I knew better. My butt told me I would wreck if I do that.

“I was getting passed and swung for the fence, and I hit it. Just sucks. I’m kind of embarrassed to do that, but just trying to make something for my team and swung too hard.”

Keselowski was running 11th at the time of the accident, with Stenhouse just a few spots behind him. Stenhouse also got loose and hit the wall before slamming into the back of a slowing down Keselowski. Both cars came to a stop in the infield grass.

Before the accident in Turn 4, Keselowski had gotten loose in Turns 1 and 2 and slid up the track. Stenhouse had gone around him, but when he got wide Keselowski and others took back the position.

“Then going into Turn 3 there, I was running the top and saw him getting loose,” Stenhouse said. “When I checked up my car got loose as well. I was just trying to avoid him, and it got mine sideways. It’s a bummer of a weekend. Our Fastenal Mustang was really fast, and I was having fun until then.”

Texas applied traction compound to the upper lanes of the track, which drivers have been hesitant to venture into. Keselowski and Stenhouse were not the only drivers to find trouble as Chase Elliott, Corey LaJoie (twice), and Denny Hamlin also lost control of their cars when moving up the track. But Stenhouse felt it would get better as the day progresses.

“It’s coming in really well,” he said. “I feel like it was a little tight the first run to run up there in (Turns) 1 and 2. I could run up there in 3 and 4 as the tires wore out a little bit; we put fuel in it and our car got more free after we made an adjustment and I felt I could really run 1 and 2 really well.

“I needed to probably run the bottom of 3 and 4 to be optimal lap time for us, but I passed the 11 (Denny Hamlin) and the 22 (Joey Logano) and was passing the 2 there in 1 and 2 on the top. It felt really good, it’s going to continue to come in.”