Keselowski Finishes 30th Following Accident at Daytona

February 19, 2011

 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 19, 2011) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger in the NASCAR Cup Series, finished 30th in the season-opening Drive4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway (DIS) on Saturday afternoon. Keselowski had a car that could contend for the win before late-race contact sent the reigning Nationwide Series champion into the outside wall and into another competitor
The result ends Keselowski's NASCAR-record streak of 102 races without a DNF (Did Not Finish) in Nationwide Series competition.
Keselowski started the race from the 12th position after posting a lap of 50.097 seconds, or 179.651 miles per hour, during Friday's qualifying session. As the race began, Keselowski immediately hooked up with the No. 1 car of Landon Cassill. The duo began to successfully orchestrate the two-car draft that has come to define the racing at DIS during Speedweeks.
Following a caution period on lap 17, Keselowski restarted in the eighth position and began pushing the No. 18 of Kyle Busch toward the front of the field. Keselowski resumed the lead in the Discount Tire Dodge for the first time on lap 32. He would alternate leading the race with the Nos. 16, 18 and 20 cars for the next 24 laps. When the caution flag flew on lap 56, Keselowski made his way to the attention of his pit crew for two tires and fuel. A problem with the new fueling system implemented in the Nationwide Series this season resulted in only one can of fuel being emptied in the No. 22 Dodge. Keselowski had to revisit pit road for another can of fuel before restarting the race from the 18th position on lap 60.
As the race resumed on lap 60, Keselowski again latched on to the No. 1 of Cassill. The two worked their way back through the field and Keselowski found himself in the fifth position by lap 86. He was able to maintain his position inside the top-five until another caution period on lap 101 gave the Discount Tire Dodge team an opportunity to give Keselowski four fresh tires and a shot at his first Daytona win. However, as the cars began to build up to full song following the lap 105 restart, Keselowski and Cassill made contact that sent Keselowski up the track and into the outside wall. The damage sustained was too severe for Keselowski to finish the event.
Penske Racing teammate Sam Hornish Jr. finished in 36th place in the Drive4COPD 300
Following Saturday's result, Keselowski and the Discount Tire Dodge Challenger team sit 30th in the Nationwide Series owner point standings.
"What a shame," said Keselowski. "This Dodge Challenger was really fast. It's just a shame not to be there at the end of the race and have a shot at the win. The guys did a great job building a fast race car. We were able to get to the front anytime that we wanted all day. I kind of got cut off. I was trying to pass the 1 (Landon Cassill) car; we'd been working together early in the day. I think he was going to pull down back in front of me trying to work with me. I had someone pushing and you just can't stop. He came down in front of me and I wanted to get underneath him and he just kept pushing and put me in the grass. It's just one of them deals. Just a little bit of miscommunication. I feel bad for my guys who worked so hard on this car. This Challenger was so fast all day. We really thought that we were going to win this race. It didn't work out. That's racing."
Keselowski and the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge team will move to Phoenix International Raceway next Saturday, February 26, for the Bashas' Supermarket 200. Coverage can be seen live beginning at 5:30 pm EST on ESPN2. The race can also be heard on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 128.