'Still nothing to shake your fist at'
It was a solid day for Brad Keselowski and his number 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang, but in the end, neither he nor anyone could get by winner Kyle Larsen.
“We had a good run, but just came up a little bit short," Keselowski said. "The 42 car was very strong at the end and we just didn’t have quite enough to run with him. We led laps and ran in the top three all day, so that’s a solid effort but not the win we’re looking for, but still nothing to shake your fist at.”
Traffic "was very difficult, but that’s part of the deal here when you run the Nationwide Series. As you go down the ladder those things are gonna become more and more of an issue. The cars are a bit of a handful here during the day and it’s hard to hold the line, so when you get to the back half of the field that really gets exaggerated with drivers of lesser experience. That’s just part of the game. It’s not something you necessarily like, but it’s something you sign up for when you race in the Nationwide Series as a Cup driver.”
Larsen "had a fast car. That’s just the reality of it. He had a fast car that was very versatile and could run the top and the bottom. That’s what you dream for as a driver. That makes your life a lot easier and he did a great job of making the most of that.”
Keselowski said he isn't sure if today's one-droove nature of the track will be in effect tomorrow for the Sprint Cup race. “That’s a hard question to answer. I felt when we ran Cup practice that the track was very much so one groove, but it seems to depend on a lot of variables that make that a very tricky question to answer – variables like where most of the cars are running and how they slip around and the skill level of the field. There’s not one set answer on that you can apply to each and every week, and I think that’s part of what makes it fun. The speed that the Cup cars have this year, I think more times than not we’ve seen that they struggle to run the top grooves because they’re going so fast on the bottom that there’s no margin to improve in the second and third lanes, but I hate to say never.
"There will always be somebody running the top because there is clean air up there, it’s just a matter of how many and how well it works. But today there were times when I thought the high lane definitely worked very well, certainly not at the end or the very beginning, but I thought Kyle Larson used it very well in the middle to get up front. I think you could go either way on that one.”