Wolfe crunched the numbers, figuring the No. 2 Dodge would cycle out in the mid-20s, a lap down from the leaders.
“I know the scenario, and it’s not good,” Keselowski said.
But minutes later, Johnson went to pit road for his own stop and pulled away with a missing lug nut. NASCAR flagged the Hendrick Motorsports team and Johnson was forced back to pit road for another stop.
The Penske team was unsure if Keselowski wanted to know what was going on with Johnson.
“I’ve got a big picture story if you want to hear it,” a team member radioed, then informed Keselowski that Johnson had to pit again.
“Ten-four. Thank you for telling me. We’re back in the game. I got it,” he said.
It got worse for Johnson from there. He broke a rear end gear in his Chevrolet and went to the garage with 40 laps to go, essentially clinching the championship for Keselowski.
“It all unraveled pretty quick,” Johnson conceded.
No longer needing to save fuel, and no longer needing to play it conservatively, he waived off Wolfe’s playbook.
“If he’s in the garage, let’s race,” Keselowski said.
That’s been Keselowski’s attitude since he burst onto the NASCAR scene. He first caught attention as a brash driver for Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Nationwide Series team, and he was unapologetic for his aggressive driving and his refusal to back down in long-running feuds with established stars Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards.
But he’s been calmer and focused since teaming with Penske in 2009, and his mission has been to give Penske a title. Still, his fame has been for the tweeting, which drew him worldwide attention when he took to Twitter from the cockpit of his car during the red flag in the season-opening Daytona 500.