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Keselowski ‘frustrated’ after early exit at Kentucky

RELATED: In-car look at Keselowski’s wreck

SPARTA, Ky. — Three-time Kentucky winner Brad Keselowski was considered a favorite by many heading into Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 Presented by Advance Auto Parts at Kentucky Speedway.

But instead of Victory Lane, Keselowski found himself in the Bluegrass State garage with a torn-up race car and an early ticket home. After losing control of his No. 2 Team Penske Ford, Keselowski made contact with both Jimmie Johnson and the wall on Lap 87 of the 274-lap event, taking both cars out of the race for the rest of the night.

He was visibly displeased with the 39th-place result during his NBCSN interview and later on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

“It is frustrating,” Keselowski said. “We weren’t as fast as we wanted to be today. That is always frustrating. I am probably as much frustrated with myself as I am frustrated with the situation and frustrated with the sport that we can’t design a better car than this that you can race without having to do everything on the restart. That is all part of it I guess. It is where we are right now.”

Keselowski later tweeted a statement to stress his continued passion for the sport, despite his heated remarks.

Nonetheless, the Team Penske stable has not been the dominant group in recent races that the premier series has seen in years past. Saturday night’s race at Kentucky marks the fourth race in the last six where Keselowski has crashed and recorded a DNF.

His teammate Joey Logano has also struggled, particularly with speed; pit strategy afforded the No. 22 team a solid eighth-place result on Saturday, but his average finish in the eight races prior equaled 23.5, including three race finishes of 30th or worse.

“I’m proud of what the team did (tonight at Kentucky), the team executed a perfect race,” Logano said on pit road. “(Crew chief) Todd (Gordon) had some good strategy which got us a top 10 – (but it’s) not good when we’re in a position where we’re happy with a top 10. That’s not a good sign. So, we’ve got to get faster so we’re mad about top-10s and mad about top-fives even like we were the last three or four years.”

“… We got a P8 out of a car that was probably not much better than 13th or 14th … the 78 and 18 were just — we aren’t even close. What I am trying to say is that we were really slow and need to get faster. That is the biggest thing …. We just were scrapping, trying to get what we can. The team did a good job at least trying to scrap up something out of it, but we just have to get faster than that.”

While Keselowski’s wins at Atlanta and Martinsville earlier in the season virtually secure him a spot in the playoffs, Logano’s encumbered win at Richmond will not count toward it; instead, the No. 22 team is left fighting for that final 16th spot with Matt Kenseth, who is also winless.

“We’ve got to develop our cars a little bit more to be competitive with the Toyotas. In all honesty, those two cars were the best in the run today,” Logano said of race winner Martin Truex Jr. and fourth-place Kyle Busch. “We’ve just got to get our cars better and worry about ourselves — just get our cars a little bit faster. …“We’ve got a lot of ideas of what it is and a lot of things we’ve just got to keep working on ourselves.”

He paused for a slight moment. “We know what it is, it’s just not fixable very quick.”