Defending Sprint Cup champ the first All-Star retiree
CONCORD, N.C. -- It was a brief All-Star experience for the reigning champion of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Brad Keselowski’s run in the Sprint All-Star Race ended almost as soon as it began, thanks to a transmission problem that knocked out the No. 2 car shortly before the event was halted under a red flag due to rain. The Penske Racing driver was on the second lap Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway when his vehicle suddenly slowed and began dropping to the rear of the 22-driver field.
“Something just broke in the back half of the drive train, either the transmission or drive shaft gear. I’m not sure which one, but it’s one of those deals, unfortunately. We’ll try to learn from it and move on,” Keselowski told reporters in the garage area.
It was the latest in a string of issues suffered by the No. 2 team, which included a vibration last week at Darlington and a lost cylinder April 27 at Richmond. “That’s just the way it is,” he said. “You can be mad about it or move on and get ready for next week. We’ll do the latter.”
Defending All-Star Race winner Jimmie Johnson was running behind Keselowski when the No. 2 car broke down.
“I was trying not to run him over,” Johnson told FOX television. “… I’m just glad we didn’t get collected.”
Kurt Busch led the field when it was halted for rain 13 laps into the event, which pays $1 million to win. The non-points race is split up into five segments totaling 90 laps, but NASCAR informed drivers prior to the event that it would be official at the halfway point.
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