KANSAS CITY, Kan. (October 3, 2010 ) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 12 Penske Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Cup Series, finished 23rd in the Price Chopper 400 at Kansas Speedway on Sunday afternoon. A “lucky dog” award, along with good pit strategy, kept Keselowski in contention for a top-15 finish, but a loose-handling racecar in the late stages of the race resulted in the driver losing spots at the end of the event.
Keselowski began Sunday’s event from the 26th position as he toured the 1.5-mile oval in 31.235 seconds, or 172.883 mph, during Friday’s qualifying session. When the green flag fell to start the 267-lap race, Keselowski quickly tried to make the high line work, but radioed to crew chief Jay Guy that he was too tight in the center of the corners. Under the first yellow flag on lap 42, Guy called Keselowski down pit road for adjustments to the air pressure and wedge. He restarted the race in the 31st position.
The No. 12 Penske Dodge responded well to the adjustments and Keselowski began to slice his way through the field. After electing to remain on the track during the second caution-flag period on lap 52, Keselowski restarted the race in the 17th position. As the race resumed, Keselowski began turning lap times as fast as the cars inside the top 10 in the running order, despite a chassis condition that had moved to the loose side. Consecutive green-flag pit stops on laps 96 and140 provided Guy opportunities to adjust the track bar, wedge and air pressure to alleviate the handling condition. However, Keselowski would lose a lap to the race leader due to the loose condition.
Keselowski used a strong restart following a lap 155 caution period to race his way into position as the first car one lap down. When the fourth caution flag of the day flew over the field on lap 165, Keselowski was awarded the “lucky dog” free pass and was allowed to return to lead lap racing. During this caution period he radioed to Guy that he was still loose coming off the Kansas corners. Air pressure adjustments gave Keselowski a car that he could race back inside the top half of the field.
A four-tire pit stop on lap 188 put the No. 12 team in position to take only two tires on their final pit stop of the day, which came on lap 237. The two-tire stop would not only tighten up the chassis, but it would allow Keselowski to pick up valuable track position. However, the handling condition on the Penske Dodge would keep the driver from capitalizing on this strategy. Keselowski would lose another lap to the race leaders before crossing the start/finish line in the 23rd position.
Keselowski and the Penske Dodge Charger team moved up one spot to 25th in both the driver and owner point standings following Sunday’s result.
Penske Racing teammates Kurt Busch and Sam Hornish Jr. finished in 13th and 36th place, respectively, in the Price Chopper 400.
“I don’t have a reason why, but getting through Turns 3 and 4 is different than Turns 1 and 2,” said Keselowski. “We seemed to be pretty good most of the race in Turns 1 and 2, but never seem to have anything for them in Turns 3 and 4 today. Turns 1 and 2 are tight while 3 and 4 have a little more banking and are more open. It’s frustrating. We’ve got to keep working and find some more speed.”
The No. 12 team will head west to Auto Club Speedway next weekend. The Pepsi Max 400 will be seen live on Sunday, October 10 on ESPN, beginning at 3 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 Price Chopper 400 Race Statistics
Laps Led: 0
Points Position: 25