Brad Keselowski: Final laps at Pocono like blackjack

Chris Graythen

Keselowski has no regrets about the failed attempt to clean trash off his car Sunday at Pocono, a move which handed Dale Earnhardt Jr. the victory.

In the immediate aftermath of losing a race he should have otherwise won, Brad Keselowski beat himself up over his decision to use a slower car to remove trash off the grille of off his own.

Instead of winning, Keselowski finished second to Dale Earnhardt, who passed Keselowski for the lead with five laps remaining Sunday at Pocono Raceway. Earnhardt readily acknowledged Keselowski had the better car and would have won were it not for a piece of debris causing his engine to overheat.

During the post-race press conference Keselowski said he made a "mistake" and "misjudged" the distance between himself and the lapped car of Danica Patrick. Keselowski thought he could use the air off Patrick's Chevrolet to clear the wrapper and maintain his lead, or if necessary, have enough to re-pass Earnhardt.

But given a few days to reflect and analyze, Keselowski no longer second-guesses himself.

"I'm not going to say that I got over it right away because that's not the case," Keselowski said Tuesday during a teleconference. "But for me, knowledge is power, and getting over something like that is knowing what I could have done better or should have done differently, and researching those things and finding that answer. I think that's where I find the ability to move on."

There were some who thought Keselowski allowed Earnhardt to pass, but the Team Penske driver said that is not accurate. When he pulled behind Patrick he lost momentum, which allowed Earnhardt to take the lead.

If in the same situation Keselowski believes other drivers would have utilized a similar tactic.

"I just made a move on a slower car to try and take the opportunity I had, and it didn't work," he said. "I didn't let Dale go and say, ‘Hey, I'm going to try to cool off my engine.' I just didn't execute the move.

"In that sense I don't feel like anyone would have done anything different."

Keselowski compares the circumstances that unfolded Sunday to a hand of blackjack where luck simply was not on his side. In gambling parlance he suffered a bad beat.

"I was sitting on 15 and the dealer had a face card," Keselowski said. "If you play by the (book), you should you should hit (take a card). I did and we busted.  The dealer then turns over his card and he was sitting on 15 as well so you knew he was going to bust out.

"That's the cards we play. Some of racing is always going to be chance and you have to play it by the odds, and I lost."

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