DOVER, Del. (September 26, 2010) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 12 Penske Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Cup Series, finished 22nd in the AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway (DIS) on Sunday afternoon. Keselowski had a fast car throughout portions of the event, but he was not able to gain the necessary track position to secure a top finish.
Keselowski began Sunday’s event from the 31st position as he toured the one-mile oval in 24.483 seconds, or 153.302 mph, during Friday’s qualifying session. As the race began, Keselowski quickly started posting lap times faster than the cars surrounding the No. 12 Penske Dodge. He moved his racing line up to the high groove around the DIS oval, which resulted in lap times faster than the leader of the race. Keselowski radioed to crew chief Jay Guy that his car was handling loose getting into the center of the corners and tight-handling just past the center of the turns. When the first caution flag of the day flew on lap 38, Guy called his driver down pit road for an air pressure adjustment. Great pit work by the No. 12 crew, which would become a familiar theme throughout the afternoon, saw Keselowski restart the event from the 28th position on lap 44.
As the race advanced past the first 100 laps, Keselowski noted that his handling condition had not changed. The team continued to adjust the air pressure in the Goodyear radial tires, and Guy also called for adjustments to the track bar and wedge. Keselowski made the first of four green-flag pit stops on lap 117 and more solid pit work saw him gain several spots on pit road and he found himself running in the 21st position after stops cycled through. Unfortunately, Keselowski later fell victim to track position and he fell a lap down to the leaders.
On lap 182, Keselowski radioed that the Penske Dodge had developed a vibration and he quickly made his way back down pit road to the attention of his crew. After a four-tire stop it was observed that the right front tire on the No. 12 had begun to fail. Keselowski lost another lap to the race leader while on pit road. When another caution flag flew on lap 187, Guy instructed his driver to remain on the track to receive a “wave around” that allowed him to gain back one of his laps.
The concrete racing surface began to come in just past the halfway point of the 400-lap event and Keselowski noticed this change entering the high-banked DIS corners. Unfortunately, Keselowski was not able to hold off the race leader and he lost another lap. A caution period on lap 291 allowed Keselowski, who was running in the 21st position, to once again remain on the racing surface and receive another “wave around” to gain back another lap. Despite the ill-handling condition of his No. 12 Penske Dodge, Keselowski was able to cross the finish line in the 22nd position, two laps down to the leaders.
Keselowski and the Penske Dodge Charger team sit 26th in both the driver and owner point standings following Sunday’s result.
Penske Racing teammates Kurt Busch and Sam Hornish Jr. finished in fourth and 36th place, respectively, in the AAA 400.
"I'm proud of the way we executed today,” said Keselowski. “Our pit stops were great. We had a solid race strategy that allowed us to pick up nine spots from where we started. The No.12 Penske Dodge just lacked speed. That's something we'll work on and continue to get better at the last eight races of the season."
The No. 12 team will move west to Kansas Speedway next weekend. The Price Chopper 400 presented by Kraft Foods will be seen live on Sunday, October 3 on ESPN, beginning at 1 p.m. EDT. The event will also be heard live on the Motor Racing Network, as well as Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 128.
Brad Keselowski AAA 400 Race Statistics
Laps Led: 0
Points Position: 26