Keselowski Earns Top-10 Finish at Auto Club Speedway

March 27, 2011

FONTANA, Calif. (March 26, 2011) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 22 America's Tire Dodge Challenger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS), finished 10th in the Royal Purple 300 at Auto Club Speedway (ACS) on Saturday afternoon. The finish is the second consecutive top-10 result for the reigning NNS champion.
Keselowski started the 150-lap race from the fifth position after posting a lap of 41.326 seconds, or 174.224 miles per hour, during Saturday morning's qualifying session. The race began with several caution periods marring the early portions of the event. Keselowski radioed to crew chief Todd Gordon that he was happy with the balance of his No. 22 America's Tire Dodge, but he needed a little help rotating the car in the center of the corners, especially when under throttle. Gordon called for an air pressure adjustment on the first pit stop, which occurred on lap 20.
The race then settled into a long, green-flag run, during which Keselowski began searching the multi-grooved racetrack for the line that suited the handling condition of his No. 22 Dodge. Over the course of the run, the America's Tire car had become loose on the entry and tight on exit of the ACS corners. Under a green-flag pit stop on lap 62, Gordon called for a track bar adjustment to continue to help the car rotate better in the center of the corners. Just as Keselowski returned to the racing surface, a caution flag flew over the field, placing him one lap down to the leaders. However, since he had just completed pit service, Keselowski was able to receive the "wave around" to return to lead-lap racing.
As Keselowski worked to get back his lost track position, his pit crew aided him by performing several stops that improved his position in the running order. One such stop, on lap 94, resulted in Keselowski returning to the top-10. On lap 104, the Penske Racing driver worked his way inside the top-five, as he tried to secure his first such finish of the season. However, the handling on the No. 22 America's Tire Dodge faded over the final laps and Keselowski had to settle for his second top-10 result of the 2011 season.
Following Saturday's finish, Keselowski and the America's Tire Dodge Challenger team sit 17th in the Nationwide Series owner point standings.
"It was a bit of a struggle for us today with our America's Tire Dodge Challenger," said Gordon. "The bumps here are really tough to get through. I just felt like we didn't find the balance that we needed to be faster. It was a step in the right direction. We've been conservative on some things, but I think today was a positive for this team. With some of the bad luck that we've had this year, it's nice to get a top-10 finish. We're just trying to build off of what we learn every week and apply (it) to the next race."
Keselowski and the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge team will enjoy an off-weekend before moving to Texas Motor Speedway on Friday, April 8, for the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300. Coverage can be seen live beginning at 8:30 pm ET on ESPN2. The race will also be heard on the Performance Racing Network and Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 128.