All good things come to an end, as Brad Keselowski learned on Sunday at Auto Club Speedway.
Starting from the rear of the Auto Club 400 field because of an engine change, Keselowski quickly charged to the top 15, slapped a barrier while sliding in another competitor’s fluid and later served a pit road penalty, but still stood fifth on the race’s final restart.
The Yo-yo-esque afternoon, however, ended with his No. 2 Penske Racing Ford limping to a 23rd-place finish, the victim of overheating. Gone was Keselowski’s four-race, top-five streak in which he led every race and held the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings lead.
Crew chief Paul Wolfe was philosophical.
Asked if his team was capable of starting another streak – perhaps on April 7 at Martinsville Speedway – Wolfe smiled and said, “Absolutely.”
Keselowski’s last two trips to Martinsville produced track-best finishes: ninth in the spring and sixth last October.
Keselowski knows there will be weeks when things don’t go your way. The competitiveness of the series – from potential winner to out of the top 20 in just 10 laps – means you get up, dust yourself off and regroup.
“It was a great streak,” the reigning series champion said. “We had a shot at winning the race if the 32 car (ofTimmy Hill) doesn’t blow up in front of us. But eventually they’re going to throw circumstances at you that you just can’t control. That happens to everybody.”