Keselowski took the green flag on Sunday afternoon under almost perfect South Florida conditions at the 1.5-mile speedway. The 25-year-old driver struggled with a loose-handling race car during the early portion of the 267-lap event. He radioed crew chief Roy McCauley to explain that the car was extremely loose under power, which hurt Keselowski's ability to generate straightaway speed in the Penske Dodge. McCauley and the team went to work to determine the changes the crew would make to the car during the first pit stop of the night.
The No.12 Penske Dodge team prepared to see its machine on pit lane under green flag conditions for the first pit stop of the evening on lap 52. The team changed four tires and filled the car with fuel.
Keselowski told the team five laps later that the car was much better and the changes really helped the No. 12 come to life. He explained that the car was very responsive in the corners and he could really be aggressive with the gas pedal.
By lap 100, the Michigan native had the Penske Dodge Charger positioned in 21st place. He reported that the car was still a bit loose-handling in the middle of the corners, but he was searching the track for a line which was both fast and responsive.
When the caution flag was displayed to the field on lap 116 for an incident coming out of turn 4, the No. 12 Penske Dodge team prepared for another round of pit stops. Keselowski brought the car into the pit stall on lap 117 for service. The team changed four tires and filled the car with racing fuel. It also made a slight air pressure adjustment to both left side tires as the crew tried to dial in the car for the next green flag segment.
The field took the green flag race restart on lap 123 and Keselowski found himself in the 26th spot, but he was on a mission towards the front of the pack. In one lap, Keselowski passed seven cars using the outside line of the racing surface. His forward progress catapulted the Penske Dodge into the top-20.
With just 67 laps remaining in the event, Keselowski found himself in the 20th spot. He radioed McCauley to explain that the balance of the car was good, but it was lacking grip, which hindered Keselowski from being aggressive with the accelerator. He got all he could out of the car for the remaining laps and produced a 25th-place result.
"We fought hard all night; we just didn't quite have enough," said Keselowski after the 267 lap race. "The No. 12 team put in a great effort. We just couldn't get the speed out of the car that we needed. I've learned a lot in the few races that I have been in the seat of the 12 car. I'm excited about the off-season. We have a lot to build on for next year and we'll be ready to go by the time that we get to Daytona."
The No. 12 Penske Dodge team, which finished the season ranked 30th in the Cup Series owner point standings, will return to action in February at the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway for the 52nd running of the Daytona 500
Brad Keselowski Ford 400 Statistics
Laps Led: 0