Brad Keselowski couldn’t quite pull out a victory to close his 2014 Sprint Cup season, but the Team Penske pilot’s third-place finish in tonight’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway allowed him to finish fifth in the championship standings – and tops among drivers not among the Championship 4.
Keselowski was in contention for the race win, running third at a restart with nine laps left in the Ford Ecoboost 400. But he was one of several drivers who were swallowed up after the green flag by a charging Kevin Harvick, who went on to win the race and his first Cup title.
“It was a good night,” said Keselowski. “To have another sound finish and bring home the white deuce with a third is not bad. We certainly wanted to be able to win and Kevin made a great move on that next-to-last restart and got through traffic and by us for the lead. That was pretty cool to see actually.
“It was a solid season for everyone here at Team Penske. We had six wins and I think 17 top-fives, the most top fives and wins in the series and that is a lot to be proud of. It was a decent night. Not exceptional but a pretty good night.
“We end up third with some ups and downs and got caught on pit road under a yellow. The team did a great job recovering from that. It was a solid to finish to what has been a great year for us.”
Keselowski was running in the Top 10 when he pitted under green at Lap 57 -only to have the caution come out one lap later. That put him a lap down, but after taking the wave-around to return to the lead lap, he re-emerged in the Top 10 by Lap 100.
Keselowski would then rise as high as second in the latter stages of the race before settling for the third-place spot behind Harvick and Ryan Newman.
His six victories were not enough to ensure him a spot in the Championship 4, but Keselowski was at ease about who ultimately took the crown.
“The fastest car all season won the championship,” he mused. “I think that is right. The most consistent car was probably Jeff [Gordon]. He finished sixth in points. We had the most wins and we finished [fifth].
“You can argue every case for a championship scenario but the reality is that we all knew what it took to win going in, and Kevin and his team did it.”