A flurry of late activity cleared Keselowski of any potential wrongdoing.
As Logano closed in on the white flag that would have wrapped up the win, a late caution sent the field to pit road. Keselowski was penalized for speeding - he was 0.8 mph over in one of the zones on pit road - and it proved he was doing everything in his power to win Monday’s race.
“I definitely wasn’t (laying back),” Keselowski said. “I was 105 percent, so that’s why got I a speeding penalty. I broke the rule the other way.”
NASCAR last September demanded drivers give 100 percent at all times in a mandate to prevent them from aiding teammates. The penalty Keselowski had to serve contributed to his 15th-place finish, and Logano went on to win his first race of the season.
“We’re in it for wins. We’re not in it for finishing second. Second or 15th is the same to us,” Keselowski said. “I sped and ended up 15th. It had to be really close. If it would have worked out, I might have been able to win the race from it. It’s just part of racing.”
Now no one can accuse Team Penske of playing unfairly, and both drivers have a clear conscious as they prepare for the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. Keselowski got his win at Las Vegas in March, and under NASCAR’s new win-and-you’re-in format, Team Penske should be assured of two spots in the 16-driver Chase field.
“It’s absolutely huge,” Keselowski said. “We haven’t burned any of our team tests, and now that we’ve got both cars in the Chase, we can just burn through those on the Chase tracks. That’s a pretty healthy advantage.”
Penske management had been plotting testing strategy prior to Monday’s race, and wondered if the organization needed to go somewhere where Logano runs well in order to give him a strong chance at a victory. Now that he’s got a win, they can test only at tracks that are in the 10-race Chase.
“Now that we’re in the Chase we can use these tests a little differently than what we were thinking,” Logano said.
NO VIP: Chase Elliott became the second youngest winner in Nationwide Series history at Texas Motor Speedway, then had to return home to Georgia to go back to school.
There was no special treatment for Elliott, who is wrapping up his senior year of high school at Kings Ridge Christian School in Atlanta.
“It was a typical Monday morning,” Elliott said. “Nobody likes Mondays, whether you’re in school or having to go to work.”
Ellliott, who won Friday night in his sixth career start, is roughly four months older than Joey Logano was when he won his first career Nationwide race in 2008 at 18 years and 21 days.