Blaney, Keselowski crash while racing for lead in second Michigan race

Team Penske drivers tangled in the final stage of Sunday’s Consumers Energy 400 NASCAR Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway.

Race-leader Ryan Blaney and teammate Brad Keselowski were side-by-side racing into Turn 1 on Lap 96 when Keselowski got loose in the No. 2 Ford, sliding into the left-rear quarter panel of Blaney’s No. 12 Ford. The contact sent both drivers hard into the outside retaining wall at the exit of Turn 2.

Keselowski’s car came sliding to a halt on the backstretch, while Blaney was able to nurse his car back to the garage area. Both drivers were forced to retire from the 156-lap event due to the significance of the damage. Both drivers were evaluated and released from the infield care center.

Keselowski took full responsibility for the incident.

“I just lost it,” Keselowski told NBC Sports. “It’s my fault. I feel really bad for my teammate, Ryan Blaney. He didn’t deserve that. I just came off of Turn 4 and the 4 car (Kevin Harvick) was behind me and he gave me a push and I swear I went into the corner like 20 miles an hour faster than I had been all day and got past the 11 (Denny Hamlin) and I went to get underneath the 12 and I just slipped.”

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Blaney explained both he and Keselowski had showcased good speed throughout the race before the incident.

“It’s just unfortunate for the whole Penske organization,” Blaney said. “… We were so fast. We had to battle back from having to pit again and got to 10th for the second stage and then got the lead. I was like, ‘All right, we can finally go back at it,’ and just got together there. That’s unfortunate, but it’s not gonna carry over. Things happen. Mistakes happen. It’s just a shame both of us got taken out.”

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Keselowski finished in the 39th and final position, while Blaney finished one spot ahead in 38th.

Blaney and Keselowski are locked into the NASCAR Playoffs with race victories. Blaney earned a victory at Talladega Superspeedway, while Keselowski has wins at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway and New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Keselowski finished second in Saturday’s Cup Series first race at the 2-mile oval, while Blaney finished fourth.