Brad Keselowski won't defend his NASCAR Sprint Cup championship this year, but it won't be for a lack of trying.
Keselowski came into Saturday night's Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway as the ultimate longshot -- 15th in points and without a victory all year long -- but nearly pulled off a miracle run.
After qualifying third on Friday, Keselowski opened the race strong, passing Jeff Gordon to take his first lead on Lap 50. All told, Keselowski led a race-high 142 laps, but as the race went on, the handling seemed to fade on his No. 2 Penske Racing Ford.
At one point, Keselowski had worked his way all the way up to 11th in points, and had he held on to win the race, he would have made the Chase for the Sprint Cup for a third consecutive season.
But in a season full of woulda's, coulda's and shoulda's, things didn't go Keselowski's way at all. He lost the lead on pit road on Lap 268 and from there began a steady march backward.
While he looked so strong f...