Brad Keselowski calls contact with Jimmie Johnson ‘unavoidable’

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Brad Keselowski said his contact with Jimmie Johnson late in Sunday’s Cup race at Kentucky Speedway was “unavoidable” because of the nature of restarts.

The contact spun Johnson, who restarted third on Lap 249 of the 267-lap race. Keselowski restarted behind Johnson in fifth.

Keselowski said of the incident: “The cars have so little horsepower that you just have to push and take and take and take.  Each restart was a takefest, which is part of the deal. I got used up on one or two of them probably, and had one where I got into Jimmie and probably took more than — took like the other guys had on me the others — but it’s just part of the chaos.”

Keselowski also said of that restart: “All race long, not just that restart, the third and fourth-place guys while they’re pushing if you don’t push, your lane doesn’t go, but then the car behind you gets a huge run on you, and that makes it tough. That’s what happened to me on the last restart. I was fourth and I was pushing Kevin (Harvick) and Cole (Custer) used his run to get to the outside and ultimately win the race. I didn’t block it because it was just too much of a run, pretty similar to what happened with Jimmie is I had a huge (run) from fifth. 

“They took off. They launched together, the inside lane (Ryan) Blaney and Jimmie, and they stretched and then they started to slow down and as they slowed down I just had a huge run and I made a move to the inside. I was turning down towards the grass. I might have had a foot or two, but I couldn’t go much lower, and I don’t know if he was trying to turn down to block me or if he was trying to turn down to get underneath Blaney, but he turned down and I was too far forward. 

“There was kind of unavoidable contact at that time. I don’t know. I hate that it ruined his day. I don’t really necessarily know what to do different. If I stayed in line and just pushed him, I was gonna get gobbled like I did on the last restart, so just part of the mayhem with these restarts.”

Johnson finished 18th. He is 15th in points, which would be the final transfer spot to the playoffs with Custer’s win. Johnson leads Austin Dillon by 24 points for 15th in the driver standings.