Keselowski Finishes Second in Season-Opener at Daytona

February 26, 2012

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 25, 2012) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS), finished second in the season-opening Drive4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway (DIS) on Saturday afternoon. This result is a career-high finish for the Penske Racing driver at DIS.

Keselowski began the 120-lap race from the ninth position after posting a lap of 49.425 seconds, or 182.094 miles per hour, during the Friday afternoon qualifying session. As the race began, Keselowski began to search for a drafting partner as the leaders began to perform the two-car tandem draft that is still prevalent in NNS races at DIS. He was able to hook up with his teammate, Sam Hornish Jr., on lap 10. Keselowski was able to push Hornish into a commanding lead on lap 17 and the two remained at the front of the field until a lap 31 caution brought Keselowski down pit road for four tires and fuel. Good pit work by the No. 22 crew resulted in Keselowski returning to the track in the ninth position on lap 36.

Following a short segment of pack racing, Keselowski and the No. 60 of Trevor Bayne hooked together and began circling the DIS oval following the green-flag at lap 36. This pairing resulted in Keselowski entering in the top-five at lap 40. Again, Keselowski was able to remain at the front of the field as the race moved past the halfway point. Following a lap 75 caution crew chief Jeremy Bullins radioed that the team may try to make it to the end on fuel so Keselowski, one of the best fuel savers in NASCAR, entered conservation mode.

When the race resumed Keselowski was running in the fifth position. He would again find Hornish to draft with, but the two weren’t able to remain together. Keselowski eventually found a partner in the No. 01 of Mike Wallace and eventually made his way up to the third position on lap 102. The race, however, had more drama to play out. Keselowski was able to drive his way through multi-car accidents – at laps 104 and 114, respectively – to put himself in position win when the race finally resumed at lap 119. However, another big incident involving several competitors, allowed the No. 30 of James Buescher to pick up his first career victory as Keselowski found himself in the second position when the final caution flag flew.

Penske Racing teammate Sam Hornish Jr. finished 20th in the Drive4COPD 300.

“Almost wrecked and almost won,” said Keselowski. “We just got a little contact there in the door getting through that wreck. I don’t know how we brought the Discount Tire Dodge home; there was a lot of swerving there to save it.  If only I could have gotten through that mess without that little bit of contact. I’m proud to be in a position to win a race and have cars capable of doing that. You know at some point, Daytona is a roll of the dice. I think we were running like eighth or 10th there when that all happened. We should be happy with a third (officially second), but I want to win this race at Daytona.  I want to win a race during Speedweeks. Glad I got another shot tomorrow with the Miller Lite Dodge with the Cup side. I’m just proud of this Discount Tire team.”

Following Saturday’s result, Keselowski and the No. 22 team are ranked second in the Nationwide Series owner point standings.

The NASCAR Nationwide Series heads to Phoenix International Raceway for the Bashas’ Supermarkets 200. The race will air on ESPN2 at 4:00 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on MRN and Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 90.