CONCORD, N.C. – Brad Keselowski got out of his Dodge Thursday after pole qualifying and launched his shoulder into the chest of one of his Penske Racing crewman.
After running 192.089 mph to win the pole for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, he couldn’t keep his emotions under control.
“Fast cars go fast,” he said.
The defending Nationwide Series champion has struggled to find his place in the Sprint Cup Series. Thursday’s pole may be a big step to fixing that.
“People keep asking me when am I going to have as much success as I’ve had in the Nationwide Series, but this is hard,” he said. “It may take me two or three, or even more, years.
Keselowski drives for Roger Penske, who’s success on Memorial Day weekend is well-documented – at Indianapolis. He has 15 wins as a car owner in the Indianapolis 500 and only one win in the Coca-Cola 600. That came a year ago with Keselowski’s teammate, Kurt Busch.
“We’ve made some awesome gains in the Blue Deuce,” Keselowski said. “Every week we just keep picking away a little here, a little bit there. We’re starting to get more people to believe in us.”
A.J. Allmendinger qualified second at 191.693 mph.
“I’m still shaking. My leg was shaking off (Turn) 4,” he said. “I didn’t want to go much faster than that. That was it.”
The rest of the top 10 qualifiers were: all-star winner Carl Edwards in third, Denny Hamlin in fourth, Jeff Burton in fifth, Jimmie Johnson in sixth, David Reutimann in seventh, David Ragan in eighth, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in ninth and Clint Bowyer in 10th.
With 48 cars, the Coca-Cola 600 had one of the biggest entry lists of the year. Thirteen drivers had to race their way into the final eight spots in the 43-car field. Stenhouse, J.J. Yeley, David Starr, Michael McDowell, Mike Skinner, Travis Kvapil and Joe Nemechek all made the cut; Andy Lally, T.J. Bell, Tony Raines, Scott Wimmer and Scott Riggs failed to make the lineup.