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Keselowski Struggles With Handling Issues at Sonoma

June 23, 2014




THE RACE

Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway (2.52-mile road course, Sonoma, Calif.)
Sunday, June 22, 2014

THE RESULTS

The No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford Fusion
Driver:  Brad Keselowski
Starting Position: 13
Finish Position: 22
Driver's Points Position: 5
 

THE RACE REVIEW

· Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford Fusion started Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race from the 13th position. The qualifying effort marked just the third time this season that Keselowski has not earned his way into final round of knockout qualifying.

·  Over the opening laps of the wine country classic, Keselowski reported that the No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford lacked rear grip and it also needed to turn better through the corners.

·   At lap 10, a fellow competitor nudged Keselowski in Turn 11 which spun the No. 2 Ford and resulted in the loss of several positions. By lap 15 Keselowski had dropped to 35th in the running order.

·   A pit stop on lap 21 gave crew chief Paul Wolfe and the Alliance Truck Parts crew their first opportunity to adjust the ill-handling machine. The team made air pressure and track bar adjustments in effort to give Keselowski the handle he needed. The green flag pit stop resulted in the No. 2 Ford falling a lap to the leaders.

·   Through the middle portion of the 110-lap event, Keselowski continued to struggle with the handling of the No. 2 machine. He reported that he could push hard and gain time early in a run but the extra effort came at the expense of additional tire wear later on so what he gained early in a run, he would give back later.

·  The team continued to make adjustments throughout the race and the No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford started to post competitive lap times. Track position proved to be a challenge through the event, however.

·  The team battled back to return to lead-lap racing in the closing stages and Keselowski made a spirited charge from as low as 40th in the running order to finish 22nd on the day.

·  The tough result was tempered by the fact that the No. 2 Team Penske Ford maintained the fifth position in the championship standings as Keselowski now trails series leader Jeff Gordon by 68 points heading into next week’s race at Kentucky Speedway.

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING

BRAD KESELOWSKI, NO. 2 ALLIANCE TRUCK PARTS FORD

THE TEAM WORKED HARD TO EARN A 22ND-PLACE FINISH. WHAT HAPPENED IN THE RACE?

“Yeah, we had a pretty rough time of it today. We just weren’t where we needed to be with our Alliance Truck Parts Ford. Early in the race we got turned around and it didn’t surprise or even upset me really, as I was struggling with a lack of turn and rear grip too. The guys in the pits did a great job of working on it all day, though we never seemed to get much better. We could manage a little speed early in a run, but it would cost us later as the tires gave up. This track continues to be a challenge for us, but we will take a look at everything and see what we can learn so that we have a shot at being better next time. The good news is we are heading to a track where we feel a lot more confident with our abilities (Kentucky) and this Ford Fusion ought to be back toward the front where we want it.”