MONTREAL - (August 29, 2010) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the Penske Racing No. 22 Discount Tire/Ruby Tuesday Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, secured a fourth-place finish in the NAPA Auto Parts 200 presented by Dodge at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve Sunday afternoon. The result marks his third top-five finish in each of the three series road course events of the 2010 season.
Following Sunday’s 77-lap race in Montreal, Keselowski leads the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series driver point standings by 365 points ahead of second-place competitor Carl Edwards.
Sunday’s race got off to a slow start, with four caution periods occurring in the first 20 laps of the event. Keselowski managed to keep his Discount Tire/Ruby Tuesday Dodge clear of the wreckage despite struggling with a loose-handling condition. As rubber from the field’s Goodyear racing tires began to build on the racing surface, Keselowski reported that his machine’s performance had drastically improved.
Crew chief Paul Wolfe called Keselowski down pit road for service during the fourth caution period of the race on lap 20. The Discount Tire/Ruby Tuesday crew installed four new tires and filled the car with fuel, but made no other adjustments. Despite losing position on track to those that chose not to make a pit stop, the Discount Tire/Ruby Tuesday crew was able to return Keselowski to the race track in 17th place, ahead of two competitors that had entered pit road alongside the No. 22 car.
The green flag was presented to the field again on lap 24, marking the start of the longest green-flag run of the afternoon. On fresh tires, Keselowski once again complained of a loose-handling condition but was confident that the issue would improve as the air pressures built in the tires of the No. 22 machine. By lap 43, Keselowski had managed to move up to sixth place and Wolfe informed Keselowski that he had clocked the fastest lap of the field on that circuit.
Despite heavy brake use at road courses like Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Keselowski assured his team and reported that his brakes were working perfectly as the field approached green-flag pit stops. After allowing Keselowski to remain on track long enough to lead a lap and gain five valuable points, Wolfe called his driver to pit road for the team’s second and final stop of the day. After receiving four tires and fuel on lap 47, Keselowski restarted the race in ninth place.
As Keselowski got back up to speed, Marcos Ambrose was forced to pit road for a replacement battery, helping Keselowski move into the sixth position. After battling with Max Papis for a slot in the top five, Keselowski backed off to help preserve his stopping power for the end of the race.
On lap 65, Keselowski had taken fifth place from Paul Menard, and was settling in for a battle with road course specialists Papis, Boris Said and Jacques Villeneuve, with title rival Carl Edwards leading the race. When an incident on the backstretch brought out the fifth caution of the day, championship rival Edwards slowed drastically, reporting a broken track bar that briefly forced the No. 60 car to the garage for repairs.
As the final laps ticked down, the field encountered several caution periods, including one that brought the competitors to a stop under red flag conditions on lap 73. After crews worked to clear debris and clean up oil on the race track, Keselowski restarted his machine for what would be a green/white/checkered flag finish. On lap 75, the field took the green flag and finished the final two laps without incident. Keselowski held his position despite constant pressure from competitors vying for a spot in the top five and scored his third fourth-place finish in Nationwide Series road course competition this season.
Penske Racing teammate Justin Allgaier finished ninth.
“I’m pleased with the No. 22 Discount Tire/Ruby Tuesday Dodge team’s results today,” said Keselowski. “I feel like I have room to improve as a driver, but I’m please with the results today. This was a true team effort. We raced in the top five and top 10 all day. It sure was a lot of fun. We were fast on the straightaways with these great Dodge engines. We had a few close calls, got into a couple of cars, but that’s part of racing at road courses.”
The No.22 Discount Tire Dodge Charger team will head to Atlanta Motor Speedway next weekend for the Great Clips 300. The race can be seen live on Saturday, September 4, on ESPN2 beginning at 6:30 p.m. EDT.
Brad Keselowski NAPA Auto Parts 200 Race Statistics
Laps Led: 1
Points Position: 1