Brad Keselowski lost his chance at a top-five finish when he ran out of fuel late in Saturday night's NASCAR race at Charlotte Motor Speedway and then had to make another pit stop because of the timing.
After the race, though, the driver didn't seem to think his world was crumbling. He didn't throw anything or storm away. He didn't curse his crew chief for a miscalculation or take a shot at his equipment.
Instead, Keselowski smiled. It was all good, he indicated. These things happen.
"It's like blackjack," he said. "You're not going to win every hand. When you have a bad deal, you try to not have too many chips on the table."
That's exactly what went down for the No. 2 team in the Bank of America 500. Though Keselowski was going for the win and failed, his result could have been a lot worse than finishing 11th.
The Penske Racing driver still left the race seven points ahead of Jimmie Johnson and 15 points up on Denny Hamlin at the halfway point of the Chase. Not exactly a disaster, but the circumstances still had to be disappointing.
"When we knew we had as fast of a race car as we did, it's tough to take," crew chief Paul Wolfe said. "But at the end of the day, we're still the point leader leaving Charlotte, which says a lot about what we've been able to do this far into the Chase. Just because we have an off-night and finish 11th doesn't mean that we're out of it or we need to hit the panic button. We're still the point leader and we'll continue to work hard."
Wolfe and Keselowski could have played a more conservative strategy and not risked the driver running out of fuel. The tank ran dry when Keselowski was trying to get into the edge of a fuel window that would allow for just one more pit stop, not two.
So why try it? Because, Keselowski said, his team was "not going to put the prevent defense out there."
"We're going to go at you and try to sack the quarterback every time," he said. "Sometimes you're going to miss and they're going to get a big payoff. We have hit them a lot – that's why we're in the points lead – and we're going to keep after it."