Earlier last week it appeared Brad Keselowski’s Sprint Cup season might be over. Keselowski had a frightening crash at Road Atlanta earlier Wednesday when something broke on the front end of his Penske Racing Dodge and he hit a concrete retaining wall head-on at 100 miles per hour, breaking his left ankle and leaving him bruised all over.
He was back in the No. 2 Dodge car yesterday, though, and drove it to victory at 40-year-old tri-oval racetrack in the eastern Pennsylvania Pocono Mountains known as “The Tricky Triangle.” By jumping behind the wheel he shocked many. “I can’t believe he is driving,” said Clint Bowyer of Keselowski. “I’m not a doctor, but his ankle looked twice the size of the other one in the picture. I bet he is going to be pretty uncomfortable when he has to mash the brakes in Turn 1.”
He started his recovery behind the wheel with a broken ankle on Sunday in his No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger qualifying 13th for Good Sam RV Insurance 500 at Pocono Raceway. Keselowski toured the 2.5-mile tri-oval in 52.739 seconds, or 170.652 miles per hour. Penske Racing teammate Kurt Busch will start from the fifth position.
Despite iffy weather conditions and a broken ankle Keselowski took over the lead with just under 20 laps to go and then held off Kyle Busch the finish. During the event the cars were brought in and remained parked on pit road for one hour and 46 minutes until the rain subsided. When the race resumed, most vehicles visited the pit to refresh tires, fuel and adjustments.
Keselowski gritted through pain to stay out on track and moved to the lead on the green-flag restart, with Busch. No. 2 car dropped back to fourth a couple of laps into the restart after the rain delay but continued to stay close to the leaders and was running third with under 30 laps to go in the 500-mile race.
On the restart on lap 185, Kyle Busch and Keselowski battle for the lead, racing side by side. Keselowski pulled away from Kyle Busch, Johnson dropped back to fourth and Kurt Busch took over third. That’s the way things remained for the final 15 laps, giving Keselowski his second Sprint Cup win of the season, broken ankle and all. The No. 2 Dodge car led only twice in the race for 19 laps – the final 16, of course, being the most significant.
This is Keselowski’s third career wins in the Sprint Cup Series in 74 races. His win at Pocono moved him into the top 20 in drivers’ points and placed him in good position to claim one of the two wild card spots for the Chase for the Sprint Cup with just five more races to go.
On Keselowski’s big win, he says “I’m no hero, the heroes are the guys (who) died in Afghanistan this weekend. They’re my inspiration this weekend, the things that those guys do. I’m glad that we could win today, but those are the heroes. I just drive race cars for a living.”
Next weekend the Sprint Cup Series moves further east to Watkins Glen, NY, and a road course test at Watkins Glen International.