Before Sunday, Brad Keselowski had never finished better than 10th and had only led seven laps in his Cup career at Sonoma Raceway.
The Team Penske driver improved those stats significantly by finishing third in the Toyota/Save Mart 350, a race he enjoyed “every moment” of.
He did it after leading 17 laps in the middle of the race’s final segment in a pit strategy bid that never came to fruition.
“It looked like it was putting us behind, but we had such a great long‑run car that it played back out for us, which was great,” Keselowski said. “In fact, I think we were hoping to catch a yellow and didn’t catch it. If we would have, I think that would have been the race‑winning move.”
Instead, after battling with teammate Joey Logano for a time, Keselowski pitted with 17 laps to go. But both he and Clint Bowyer were able to charge to the front as the laps dwindled down and the leaders began conserving fuel.
“When you have a car that great, you just ‑‑ you really enjoy every moment of it, and today was a day I really enjoyed,” Keselowski said.
Keselowski now has just one track where he’s never scored a top-five finish: Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Keselowski finished 28th in Stage 1 and second in Stage 2 behind Jimmie Johnson.
The only blemish on Keselowski’s day was a run-in with Bowyer on Lap 23, when he made contact with Bowyer in Turn 8 and sent the No. 14 Ford spinning off course. The contact left Keselowski’s left-front fender bent out of shape, but it never caused him any problems.
“I had the slip‑up there and got into Clint and that really stank, but other than that, just an incredible race car, and really a pleasure to drive,” Keselowski said.
Sitting at fifth in the points, the Team Penske driver now heads to Daytona where he will attempt to defend his win in last year’s Coke Zero 400. Keselowski won the summer race at Daytona and the following race at Kentucky last year.