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Fuel gamble doesn't pay off for Keselowski

October 15, 2012, Joe Menzer,

Chase leader has disappointing finish despite leading race-high 139 laps

CONCORD, N.C. -- For a race-high 139 laps during Saturday night's Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Brad Keselowski's No. 2 Dodge was at the head of the field.

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But when he tried to stretch his fuel an extra lap prior to pitting on Lap 276, Keselowski pushed the fuel envelope too far. He ran out of gas roughly halfway around the 1.5-mile track and had to coast slowly to pit road, where his car stalled and wouldn't immediately refire. By the time he got back onto the track, he had fallen to the 13th position.

To make matters worse, on top of running out of fuel and having an extremely slow and costly stop, crew chief Paul Wolfe said later that the pit crew failed to completely top off Keselowski's fuel tank during the stop. That forced him to pit again with 22 laps remaining in the 334-lap race, and ultimately the car that had proven to be the fastest on the track for most of the night had to settle for an 11th-place finish.

"I'm not quite sure we had the car packed full on the stop before last, and I think that's' probably what got us in trouble more than anything," Wolfe said.

Keselowski added of the fuel-mileage gambit gone wrong: "It's like playing blackjack. Sometimes you're going to get a good deal, but you're not going to win 'em all. You know that."