Keselowski Finishes 18th in Auto Club 400

March 26, 2012

FONTANA, Calif.  (March 25, 2012) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the Penske Racing No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS), finished 18th in the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway (ACS) on Sunday afternoon. The event was shortened from its scheduled distance of 200 laps to 123 completed laps due to persistent rain showers that moved through the area.

Keselowski began the event from the 17th position based on his qualifying lap of 39.121 seconds, or 184.044 miles per hour, around the two-mile oval during the Friday afternoon qualifying session. The race began with the threat of rain looming over the speedway. Early in the initial run, Keselowski noted that his car was running loose entering the turns and had very little grip on corner exit. However, as the cars began to turn more laps, the Miller Lite machine came to life. Keselowski made his way up to the 11th position before bringing his Dodge to the attention of the Miller Lite crew, under the green flag at lap 33. Crew chief Paul Wolfe elected to make only air pressure adjustments to a car that was one of the fastest on the track. Keselowski found himself in the 13th position as the pit stops cycled though at lap 36.

The Miller Lite Dodge continued to get stronger as Keselowski marched forward. He remarked to Wolfe that the car was better in Turns 1 and 2 following the adjustments, but that he still needed help in Turns 3 and 4. Once again the field came down pit road under the green flag for the second round of pit stops. Keselowski entered pit road at lap 69, while running in the 10th position, for another round of air pressure adjustments. As the pit stops cycled through at lap 72, Keselowski was scored in the 14th position.

As the race continued, Keselowski radioed that the car’s loose-handling condition became more pronounced, yet he continued to turn lap times faster than those of the race leader. While coming down pit road for his third stop of the day, Keselowski committed a speeding violation. Following a pit stop that featured a left-side wedge adjustment, Keselowski was forced to serve a “pass through” penalty and, as a result, he fell one lap down to the race leaders. While attempting to race his way into position for the “Lucky Dog” award and get back to lead-lap racing, rain began to fall over the area at lap 124. Action was stopped at lap 128 and after a delay the event was called as Keselowski was credited with an 18th-place finish.

Penske Racing teammate, AJ Allmendinger, finished 15th-place finish in Sunday’s Auto Club 400.

“We were really strong on the first run for sure,” said Keselowski. “We started to lose the handle on the Miller Lite Dodge after that. It’s difficult to say how fast we were going to be because we just didn’t dial the car in to where I knew how much speed we had in the car yet. I know that we were capable of running faster than 18th and I certainly didn’t help it with the pit road speeding violation.”

Following Sunday’s event, Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge team are ranked 16th in the driver point standings and 17th in the owner point rankings.

Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge team next race at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, April 1, in the Goody’s Fast Relief 500. Coverage will be seen live beginning at 12:30 pm EST on FOX. The race will also be heard on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 90.