Both drivers made contact with each other on Lap 1, forcing each to pit for cut tires and damaged cars.
They returned to the track a lap down. Busch didn’t need to worry as he’d already clinched a spot in the championship race due to his win at Martinsville. But he still managed to bounce back to finished 19th.
Keselowski, on the other hand, went from being 29 points ahead of the final transfer spot to the championship round entering the race to 20 points back after the accident.
But the Team Penske driver charged back to finish fifth and leave Texas 19 point to the good entering this weekend’s race at Phoenix. Keselowski is one of five drivers vying for the final spot in the championship four.
NASCAR America’s Kyle Petty called Keselowski’s rebound a “championship-caliber performance.”
“I think there are moments in a career, there are moments in season, there are moments that you look at, maybe the team doesn’t win, but you look at and say, ‘championship performance,'” Petty said. “Boom. Fifth-place finish and they’re still in the mix.”
Petty and Parker Kligerman also discussed why Busch’s finish is important for the No. 18 team despite already being part of the championship four.
“They need to keep their head in the game,” Petty said. “Pit stops, they basically got a free day of, ‘let’s go over there, let’s bust these pit stops, let’s stay in that rhythm. Let’s stay in the rhythm of spotting, let’s stay in the rhythm of driving, let’s stay in the rhythm of running a strategy and seeing where we’re at.'”
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