Keselowski Finishes 12th at Martinsville

March 29, 2010

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (March 29, 2010) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 12 Penske Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Cup Series, finished 12th in the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Monday afternoon. For the second consecutive weekend, Keselowski scored his best finish of the 2010 season.

Severe weather in the Martinsville area forced NASCAR to move the race to Monday afternoon. Rain also washed out Friday’s qualifying session as the field was lined up based on 2010 owner points, per the NASCAR rulebook.

Keselowski began his first Cup Series race at Martinsville from the 33rd position. He spent the early portion of the event trying to find the rhythm necessary to lay down consistent lap times on the challenging oval. It was evident early that run that Keselowski was better than many of his competitors in getting into the tight Martinsville corners. He was having trouble, however, getting his car to turn smoothly exiting the turns. Crew chief Jay Guy called for adjustments to the track bar and air pressure on the No. 12 Dodge when the first caution flag flew on lap 41.

Following the subsequent race restart, Keselowski was forced into the outside retaining wall while trying to avoid a spinning No. 82 car. While the damage to the Penske Dodge was cosmetic, Guy and crew took no chances on whether or not there was any sheet metal rubbing the right front tire. Guy called Keselowski down pit road twice under a caution period on lap 74 to fix the damage.

Passing is a premium at Martinsville, so to gain valuable track position, Keselowski remained on the racetrack when another caution flag fell on lap 162 with the Penske Dodge running in the 26th position. He restarted the race in the third spot. It would prove to be another intelligent move by Guy as Keselowski would remain at the front half of the field for the remainder of the event.

While Keselowski continued to struggle to get the car to turn in the exit of the corners at the start of a run, the chassis condition gradually began to improve over the course of a green-flag stint. On lap 380, Keselowski had fallen back to 19th place, his lowest running position since Guy left him on the track at lap 162. The team made a substantial track bar adjustment under a lap 420 caution and this proved to be what Keselowski needed to begin his march toward the top-10.

Martinsville is notoriously hard on brakes, but Keselowski was able to save his until they were needed. During the last 100 laps, when it looked as though others had used up their brakes, Keselowski was able to begin passing his competitors one by one. After a caution flag on lap 491, Keselowski restarted the race in the 15th position, but he was able to make his way inside the top-10 in just three laps.

Another caution flag flew on lap 499, which would send the race into overtime. On the ensuing green-white-checkered flag, double-file restart, Keselowski found himself in the outside line. The inside line is the preferred way around the Martinsville Speedway and he was not able to hold his position. However, the driver of the No. 12 Penske Racing Dodge Charger was encouraged by his 12th-place finish in his first start at the half-mile oval.
“I’m really proud of this team,” said Keselowski. “Jay (Guy) made some great calls for the second consecutive race and we were able to gain a lot of track position. Not many drivers finish in the top-10 in their first start here and we were in position to do that until the last caution. Now that I have a start under my belt (here), we should be even better when we come back in the fall.”

Penske Racing teammates Sam Hornish Jr. and Kurt Busch finished 13th and 23rd, respectively.

Following the sixth race of the season, Keselowski is ranked 27th in the 2010 NASCAR Cup Series driver point standings.

The No. 12 Penske Dodge team will enjoy a weekend off before heading west for the Subway Fresh Fit 600 at Phoenix International Raceway. The race will be seen live on Sunday, April 10, on the FOX television network beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET. The event will also be heard live on MRN Radio, as well as Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 128.


Brad Keselowski Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 Race Statistics
Start: 30
Finish: 12  
Laps: 508/508
Laps Led: 0 
Status: Running
Points Position: 27