Brad Keselowski (R) and crew chief Paul Wolfe (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)
By Mike Mulhern
Brad Keselowski was just numb.
He didn't make the playoff cut and won't be in the chase to defend his NASCAR championship when the Sprint Cup tour takes to the field next weekend at Chicagoland Speedway, right outside Chicago.
"I don't really have any emotions right now," Keselowski insisted. "We weren't good enough to make it, and we didn't. That is the reality."
However it wasn't for lack of effort. He led nearly half the race, 142 of the 400 laps.
"We were pretty good at the start and led a lot of laps…but we just weren't strong enough to really stay up there. We needed clean air to really run well, and once we lost that we just weren't strong enough.
"That is just the way our cars have been this year. They haven't been good enough, and we haven't executed as well as we needed to. We have work to do.
"The thing about points is that is the best measuring stick in sports. You know who deserves to be where, because the results speak for themselves.
"We didn't have enough results to get where we needed to be."
Ironically teammate Joey Logano did make the cut, just barely. He appeared out much of the night.
"We are in, and it feels great," Logano said. "But, man, what a terrible race. We were hanging on the whole time.
"I didn't know where we were (in the playoff picture), and every time I asked where we stood, they didn't answer me. I thought that wasn't good, if they weren't answering me.
"Now we are going to forget about tonight's finish and make the most of this chase. We can win this thing, we just have to run better than what we did tonight.
"We were the hottest team in NASCAR coming into this race, so we're not going to let this kill our momentum."
It was Carl Edwards' win that helped Logano get into the playoffs. He was battling Ryan Newman for a spot.
So team owner Roger Penske said "I have to thank Carl Edwards for winning that race. That made a huge difference there at the end because if Newman would have won we would have been out.
"Joey persevered all season. We are in the chase; that is what we came here for. Now we start all over again.
"Brad has done such a great job… and as I told him before the race 'We might not get in, but it is like business -- you will have some good months and bad months.'
"He has done a great job for us. He deserved better than he got, and I think we let him down a couple of times. But he is a class guy and great to have on the team… and I need to thank him for getting us Joey Logano."
Joey Logano (C) listening to The Captain, Roger Penske (R) (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)