By: Zach Catanzareti, Staff Writer
Rule No. 1 of auto racing broke Sunday at Michigan International Speedway when teammates tangled in Turn 2… while racing for the lead.
On lap 95 of the Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan, Ryan Blaney was leading Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski for the top spot shortly following a restart. And while the two ran side-by-side in Turn 1, Keselowski No. 2 Ford broke out of line on the inside and ran into the rear corner of Blaney’s No. 12.
What followed were two hard hits by both Fords, as they each pounded the outside wall. Though keeping their cars straight, they were both done for the day, falling from 1-2 on the grid, to 38-39 on the finishing order.
Keselowski took fault of the accident.
“I just lost it. It’s my fault,” Keselowski said. “I feel really bad for my teammate, Ryan Blaney. He didn’t deserve that.”
Battling ahead of the weekend’s dominator, Kevin Harvick, Keselowski was pushing to get into clean air and hopefully grab his first win on his home track. That’s when things went bad.
“I just came off Turn 4 and the No. 4 car [Harvick] was behind me and he gave me a push,” he said. “I swear I went into the corner like 20 miles an hour faster than I had been all day. I went to get underneath [Blaney] and I just slipped. I lost the back and when I went to collect it, he was there and I wiped him out and myself out.”
Blaney, who was also searching for his first Michigan win, was unsurprisingly upset after the wreck.
“It’s just unfortunate for the whole Penske organization,” Blaney said. “We had two fast cars battling for the lead and it just stinks that happened.
“[Keselowski] had a run, like he said, and he didn’t think he had as big of a run as he had and just got loose and, unfortunately, got us both. It’s a shame to end our day like that. We were so fast.
“It’s not gonna carry over. Things happen. Mistakes happen. It’s just a shame both of us got taken out.”
Keselowski will also move forward after the tough day.
“I feel terrible for everyone at Team Penske and especially Ryan Blaney,” he said. “Gosh, he didn’t deserve that. I should have whoa’d way up. I had been running wide-open on the bottom all day and thought I could do it again, but with that big push I overestimated the grip and ruined our day.”