Even though Brad Keselowski felt “pretty equal” to Chase Elliott as the laps wound down at Phoenix Raceway, Keselowski had been set too far behind from a slow final pit stop.
Keselowski was over two-seconds behind Elliott at the checkered flag. The No. 2 Team Penske team pitted for the final time in the Season Finale 500 with 53 laps to go and had issues on the rear. Under green flag conditions, the time lost put Keselowski behind the other three title contenders for the run to the finish.
The team struggled on pit road throughout the afternoon. Keselowski lost six spots on the first pit stop at the competition caution, but the team then held serve at the end of Stage 1. After winning the second stage, Keselowski came off pit road fifth.
“I haven’t had a chance to look at that,” Keselowski said of the issues. “Obviously, at the end of Stage 2, I was right where I wanted to be, in the lead, and we lost a spot, which is not fun. But it’s a team effort and just was tough to fight back through.
“We got up to second there at the end, and I feel like we were pretty equal the 9 car [Elliott] and I. I would have loved to have had a chance to race it out, but that’s not the way it played out.”
Keselowski led 16 laps. As one of two drivers to have won a title before, Keselowski was confident as well as excited to be driving the same car he dominated the races at Loudon and Richmond.
That was wild!
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) November 8, 2020
A fight for the title didn’t come to be because of his track position, but Keselowski was focused on the positives from the day. He felt his team brought a great car, and they ran a great race. In all, Keselowski was disappointed and proud at the same time.
“Yes and no,” Keselowski said when asked if the championship got away. “I feel like I did all I could do. With that in mind, you try to shake it off and move on. I can’t change anything about what happened, and I hate it for my guys that that’s the way it played out, but so it goes.”