Keselowski Wins U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway
August 3, 2014
U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway (.875-mile oval, Newton, Iowa)
Saturday, August 2, 2014
The No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang
Driver: Brad Keselowski
Starting Position: 2
Finish Position: 1
Owners' Points Position: 2
THE RACE REVIEW
· Making his seventh NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) start of the 2014 season, Brad Keselowski rolled off from the second position on Saturday night at Iowa Speedway. The qualifying effort represents Keselowski’s sixth front-row start of the year in the Nationwide Series.
· As the field took the green, Keselowski held position, settled into a groove and took care of his Discount Tire Ford. As he caught lap traffic at lap 20, he radioed in that his car was a little loose in and off of the corners and a little tight in the center of the turn.
· At lap 32, Keselowski took the lead for the first time in the 250-lap event. The 2010 NNS Champion led four times over the course of the race for a total of 146 laps.
· The first pit stop of the race came at lap 53 while the field was slowed for a yellow flag. A few competitors stayed out allowing them to gain track position while the No. 22 Discount Tire machine fell back to sixth in the order.
· Once the action resumed, it took Keselowski just 15 laps to carve his way back to the front and again take command of the race.
· Keselowski led until the next pit stop at lap 108 when he lost a position on pit road. He ran second for a good portion of the middle of the race, biding his time before again taking the lead on lap 164.
· As the laps wound down, it looked as though the veteran driver would cruise to a dominant victory, but a caution flag with just eight laps remaining put the outcome at question.
· Crew chief Jeremy Bullins made a calculated gamble, calling his driver to the pit lane for two tires with just six laps to go. The Team Penske pit crew serviced their Ford Mustang, and Keselowski maintained the top spot for the final restart of the night at lap 247.
· Keselowski restarted on the outside and the 20 car of Michael McDowell managed to get by him on the exit of turn two, but Keselowski would not be denied and he got back around him in turns three and four.
· He held on to collect his third NNS victory in seven attempts in 2014. The win brings the No. 22 Team Penske entry to within one point of Owners’ point leader, the No. 54 of JGR.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
BRAD KESELOWSKI, NO. 22 DISCOUNT TIRE FORD MUSTANG
YOU HAD TO WORK FOR THAT ONE, TELL US ABOUT YOUR NIGHT.
“We did have to work for that one. Early on we had to get by Trevor (Bayne) and then I battled Sam (Hornish) for the lead for much of the night. Our Discount Tire Mustang had great speed, and my Team Penske crew did a great job all weekend, especially considering that I didn’t get to practice the car much at all. The No. 22 team is hitting stride, and I could not be more proud of the effort and the results tonight.”
DID THAT LATE RACE CAUTION MAKE YOU NERVOUS?
“I was concerned, but I really felt bad for Jeremy (Bullins) as those late race strategy calls are not easy to make. He made the right call though, and the pit crew got me out in front. I have to say when McDowell got past me on the restart, I thought we were done, but I managed to get around him in three and four somehow. These wins do not come easy, the competition is tight at the front of the field, and I am thankful for the car and the team.”