Keselowski Captures 15th-Place Finish in Wild Race

July 3, 2011

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 2, 2011) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS), finished 15th in the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday night. The Penske Racing driver was able to maneuver through a wild “green-white-checkered” finish to secure a solid points night for the team.

Keselowski began the 160-lap event from the 26th position after he posted a lap of 49.989 seconds, or 180.040 miles per hour, during Friday’s qualifying session. As the race began, Keselowski decided to gain as many positions as possible before looking for his “dancing partner” in the two-car draft and he was able to race his way into the ninth position by lap three on his own accord. After letting the race settle in, Keselowski drove his Miller Lite machine up to the rear bumper of the No. 21 of Trevor Bayne, but accidental contact led to Bayne spinning into the outside wall on lap 5, which brought out the first caution of the event.

After choosing to remain on the track, Keselowski restarted the race in the 17th position at lap nine. However, with an odd number of cars on the racing surface, he found himself without a drafting partner and he quickly lost a lap to the race leaders. Keselowski was able to receive the “Lucky Dog” award to get back to lead-lap racing when the second caution flag of the day flew at lap 23. Crew chief Paul Wolfe brought his driver down pit road for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment under the yellow flag. Keselowski restarted the event from the 34th position a lap 27.

Upon restarting the race, Keselowski found a drafting partner in the form of the No. 16 of Greg Biffle. The two began to perform the two-car draft, with Biffle pushing the Miller Lite Dodge around the 2.5-mile oval. Prior to the event, the two teams exchanged radio frequencies, which allowed the two drivers to communicate directly with each other. The two drivers remained committed to each other following pit stops at lap 50.

At lap 74, Keselowski radioed that he felt a vibration coming from the right front area of his No. 2 Dodge. He and Wolfe elected not to make an unscheduled pit stop and the vibration got no worse as the race progressed. Keselowski made a scheduled, green-flag pit stop at lap 94, where a loose wheel was found to be the cause of the vibration. As the pit stops cycled out, he found himself running in the 13th position.

Biffle was able to push Keselowski into the lead at lap 112, which allowed the team to pick up one bonus point for leading a lap. After Biffle was able to also lead a lap, the two decided to take a conservative approach before making a run to the end. However, the No. 16 developed motor issues at lap 150 and was unable to provide much of a “push” over the final laps. After racing under the green flag for 104 laps, the caution flag flew at lap 158 to setup a “green-white-checkered” scenario. Keselowski was forced to find a new drafting partner during the overtime period and he chose to work with the No. 18 of Kyle Busch. However, the two were never able to link together and as the race finished with a wild, multi-car wreck, Keselowski was able to cross the finish line in 15th place.

Penske Racing teammate, Kurt Busch finished 14th in Sunday’s Coke Zero 400.

Following Saturday’s result, Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge team are currently ranked 22nd in the Cup Series driver and owner point standings.

“Eventful is a great word for what went on out there those last few laps,” said Keselowski. “I’m happy to bring home a decent finish with the Miller Lite Dodge in one piece. We got a little off there about two-thirds of the way through the race and fell behind. We just didn’t get the opportunity to get that track position back. It was a decent finish for us. We wanted a little more. We’ll just work a little harder to get it.”

Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite team will next compete at the inaugural Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday, July 9. Coverage will be seen live beginning at 7:30 pm ET on TNT. The race will also be heard on the Performance Racing Network and Sirius XM Satellite Radio Channel 90.