Keselowski Scores Another Second-Place Finish at P.I.R.

March 4, 2012

AVONDALE, Ariz. (March 3, 2012) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS), finished second in the Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) on Saturday afternoon. This result marks the fourth consecutive top-two finish for the 2010 NNS champion.

Keselowski began the 200-lap race from the seventh position after posting a lap of 27.274 seconds, or 131.994 miles per hour, during the Saturday morning qualifying session. As the race began, Keselowski wasted little time in showcasing the strength of his Discount Tire Dodge. He quickly began turning some of the fastest laps of the field, eventually making his way into third place at lap seven. He radioed to crew chief Jeremy Bullins that his car had a strong takeoff at the green flag, but by lap 20 it had moved to a tight-handling condition. A caution flag at lap 43 gave Bullins an opportunity to make air pressure and track bar adjustments to help his driver through the PIR corners. Keselowski restarted the race in the eighth position at lap 49.

When the race resumed Keselowski noted that the handling had improved and was definitely less tight  as he began to make his way back to the front of the field. Unfortunately, the handling condition deteriorated once again and Keselowski was forced to deal with another tight-handling Discount Tire Dodge as the race moved past the halfway point. Following a yellow-flag pit stop at lap 105, Keselowski radioed that the handling was improved as he maintained his position inside the top five.

On the third, and final, pit stop of the day at lap 164, Bullins elected to change left-side tires only. This was an effort to gain valuable track position on the new PIR surface that made passing difficult throughout the race. Keselowski restarted the race in the second position, but he quickly made a pass for the lead. He took the lead for the first time at lap 169 and he would maintain that position for seven laps before being overtaken by the No. 2 of Elliot Sadler. Keselowski was able to race his way back to the rear bumper of Sadler over the final five laps, but could not make the pass necessary to pick up the win.

Penske Racing teammate, Sam Hornish Jr., finished sixth in the Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 on Saturday afternoon.

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

"It's been a great start for Jeremy Bullins (crew chief) and the Discount Tire team,” said Keselowski. “Jeremy came over to this team as a new crew chief to start this year.  Two second-place finishes, that's a lot to be proud of.  We want to win.  We were close, but we just needed a little bit more out of our Dodge today. A great effort by the whole team.  It's great to see Elliott Sadler win, a Nationwide regular. That's very important to the series as well, all and all, a great day for us and the series."

Keselowski and the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge team will move to Las Vegas Motor Speedway next Saturday, March 10, for the Sam’s Town 300. Coverage can be seen live beginning at 5:00 pm EST on ESPN2. The race can also be heard on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 90.