AVONDALE, Ariz. (November 13, 2010) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the Penske Racing No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, finished fourth in the WYPALL 200 powered by Kimberly-Clark Professional at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) on Saturday afternoon. The result marked the 25th top-five finish for the driver, which ties the Nationwide Series record for top-five finishes in a season.
Keselowski, who clinched the 2010 Nationwide Series championship last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, began the race from the 12th position following a lap of 27.246 seconds, or 132.129 miles per hour, during the Saturday morning time trial session. When the race began, Keselowski radioed to crew chief Paul Wolfe that he was too loose on exit of the flat PIR corners. A lap 22 caution gave Keselowski the opportunity to visit pit road for track bar and wedge adjustments. An unfortunate pit road miscue, however, resulted in Keselowski restarting the race from the 22nd position on lap30.
As Keselowski began making his way back through the field, the first-year Penske Racing driver began to turn the fastest laps on the racetrack. A break came on lap 62 when the second caution flag of the day flew, which allowed Wolfe to call for a two-tire pit stop to gain track position. This proved to be a very wise decision as Keselowski restarted the race from the third position, an improvement of 14 positions as he came down pit road running 17th.
Despite having only two new Goodyear radials on his No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Charger, Keselowski was able to maintain his position inside the top 10. He was still dealing with a loose-handling condition, but late in the run he was able to find speed and put himself in great position to challenge for the win.
Phoenix is known for having a late-race caution, so when the yellow flag waved on lap 139, Wolfe elected to keep Keselowski on the track and save their last set of tires for later in the event. However, the remaining 56 laps were run without incident and the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge team were unable to improve their car for a run to the checkered. The fourth-place finish not only set a new mark for top-five finishes in a season, but it was also the sixth-consecutive top-five finish for Keselowski as he puts an exclamation point on his championship season.
With the finish, Keselowski extends his NASCAR record with his 101st consecutive Nationwide Series race without a DNF (Did Not Finish).
Penske Racing teammate Justin Allgaier finished in the eighth position.
“It was a good points day for this Discount Tire Dodge team,” said Keselowski. “I hate to see Kyle (Busch) have problems. I’d rather race him for the owner’s title. That’s how the season goes, you have ups and downs. We’ve had some downs this year, but I’ve got a great race team. We needed just a little bit more speed with our Discount Tire Dodge today. We were just a little bit off. We still made a solid effort and got a great top-five finish out of it.”
The No.22 Discount Tire Dodge Charger team will move to Homestead-Miami Speedway for the Ford 300. The race can be seen live on Saturday, November 20, on ESPN2 beginning at 4 p.m. EST. The event can also be heard live on the Motor Racing Network, as well as Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 128.
Brad Keselowski WYPALL 200 Race Statistics
Laps Led: 0
Points Position: 1