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Keselowski still in 8th place

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August 18, 2013 07:02 PM EST | AP

BROOKLYN, Mich. — Defending Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski still isn't safe in his bid for a spot in the Chase.

Keselowski missed an opportunity Sunday to improve his chances when he finished 12th at Michigan International Speedway. He led the race for 17 laps.

"It is the same deal every week," Keselowski said. "The yellows fall exactly the wrong way to screw up our strategy. That can't keep going that way. It's like blackjack. You aren't going to keep turning 15 or 16 on every hand. Eventually you are going to turn a good hand. We just didn't catch it today."

With three races remaining before the Chase, Keselowski is still in eighth place in the standings, and just eight points ahead of 11th-place Kasey Kahne.

When he and his team realized they couldn't shoot for the win, Keselowski said the focus turned to the points race.

"That is pretty much it," he said. "That is all you can do. Get the points you can and move on to next week. I think we gained some at least on a few guys."

The only Sprint Cup champion to miss the Chase a year after winning the title was Tony Stewart in 2006.