A challenging week for Brad Keselowski continued on Sunday in the Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway but the defending Series champion persevered and somehow finished in sixth.
Keselowski started the race in 33rd - his worst start of the season - and received early damage when the field stacked up shortly after the start of the race. Someone made contact with the Miller Lite Ford and Keselowski quickly found himself a lap down.
His team continued to make repairs on the car throughout the day but the wind eventually ripped the rear quarter panel completely off the car. Through all the challenges, Keselowski's car maintained a competitive speed and will remarkably leave Kansas with another top-10 -- his seventh of the season.
"The car was really strong at the end," Keselowski said. "It wasn't quite perfect, but it definitely was really strong and showed the strength that we can have."
Keselowski said he could barely feel the quarter panel dragging in the air but didn't realize it was so close to tearing off. He was surprised when it did come loose, remarking that it was a good aero lesson for what dirty air can do when two drivers are running side-by-side.
Keselowski admitted that he usually isn't happy unless he wins but that finishing in the top-10 despite all that has happened over the last week was a lot like a victory. He says his team hasn't given up and he wouldn't change anything that has happened since Texas.
"If I could redo it over and over again I'd make it better every time," Keselowski said. "I'm ready for next week, but this week is what it is and I don't have any regrets."
Keselowski and Penske Racing teammate Joey Logano were penalized by NASCAR earlier in the week after the sanctioning body had confiscated unapproved parts prior to last week's race at Texas Motor Speedway. Keselowski and Logano were both penalized 25 points and had their crew chiefs and car chiefs suspended for six weeks.
The teams have appealed their penalties.