Until Jimmie Johnson's stunning crash late in Saturday night's Bank of America 500, the most surprising development in the NASCAR's Charlotte Motor Speedway race was Brad Keselowski's off-night.
Keselowski spent much of the Charlotte race mired in the mid-20s before rallying for a 16th-place finish. Still, a result outside the top 15 is painful in the Chase, and it dropped Keselowski to sixth place in the Sprint Cup Series standings.
He's now 25 points behind championship leader Carl Edwards.
The disappointing result for Keselowski seemed to come out of the blue. His No. 2 Penske Racing team had brought a new car to Charlotte and seemed full of both optimism and momentum.
So what happened?
"This particular tire and track combination is so different than everywhere else we go, what it took to be successful we just didn't have in our back pocket," Keselowski said. "We just didn't have what we needed tonight."
Keselowski said the team "missed the setup a little bit" and added he did a "bad job" in qualifying. The combination of those two factors, he said, put them behind.
In addition, Keselowski was the victim of an ill-timed caution flag twice after pitting under green. He speculated if the yellows had fallen at a different time, "we could have probably had an eighth- or ninth-place day."
"I feel like I know what was wrong," he said. "I wish we could run this race tomorrow and come back with a little different setup. But we just didn't catch the right breaks."
Keselowski said heading into Charlotte that any driver 20 or more points behind the leaders had little chance of winning the championship – a group that now includes him.
So now what?
"Well, I don't think (the outlook) is terrible," he said. "It's not better than it was coming in, but I don't think it's terrible. I feel like the way this Chase is going, with the 48 having the problems he had tonight and some of the other things you're seeing, it could come right back to us."