KANSAS CITY, Kan. (October 2, 2010) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the Penske Racing No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, finished second in the Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway on Saturday afternoon. Keselowski has to overcome a early-race vibration and a pit road mishap to pick up his series-leading 20th top-five finish of the season.
Keselowski continues to lead the Nationwide Series driver point standings by 374 points over second-place contender Carl Edwards.
During the Saturday morning time trials, Keselowski toured the 1.5-mile oval in 31.434 seconds, or 171.789 mph, which qualified him in the eighth position. As the race began, Keselowski immediately set his sights on the top five, which he entered on lap 16. While running in the fourth position on lap 36, Keselowski radioed to crew chief Paul Wolfe that he had developed a vibration in the right front area of the car. As the vibration worsened, Keselowski chose to come down pit road for four new tires, along with a wedge adjustment called for by Wolfe. He returned to the track in the 29th position, one lap down to the leaders.
As the first round of green-flag pit stops cycled through, Keselowski found himself back on the lead lap in the 12th position on lap 57. He was able to race his way back inside the top five before a lap 67 caution flag put him back on the same pit sequence as the rest of the lead lap cars.
As the 200-lap race moved towards the halfway point, Keselowski radioed that his car was a little free entering Turn 3, but that he was otherwise very happy with the handling. A lap 90 caution flag gave Wolfe an opportunity to make adjustments to the air pressure and track bar on the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge. A fast pit stop by the No. 22 crew allowed Keselowski to return to the track ahead of all competitors that took four tires.
Keselowski wasted little time racing his way back to the front of the field. He assumed the race lead for the first time on lap 140. Once he was able to get his car out in clean air at the front of the field, the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge began turning some of the fastest laps of the race. Again he radioed to Wolfe that his car was a bit on the loose side, but he was satisfied with the way it was handling.
Wolfe called his driver down pit road for a green-flag pit stop on lap 177, the final stop of the day. While performing the stop, the No. 22 crew had a rare miscue on the right rear tire and Keselowski lost valuable track position while on pit road. However, the No. 22 Dodge was strong enough that Keselowski raced his way back to the eighth position before a caution flag flew on lap 189 to bring the field back together. When the race resumed, Keselowski moved into the fourth position prior to the final caution flag of the day on lap 195, which set up a “green-white-checkered” finish. Over the final two laps, Keselowski was able to drive below the No. 18 of Kyle Busch while coming to the checkered flag to pick up a second-place finish.
With the finish, Keselowski extends his NASCAR record with his 95th consecutive Nationwide Series race without a DNF (Did Not Finish).
Penske Racing teammates Justin Allgaier and Parker Kligerman finished in seventh and 24th position, respectively.
“We were just a little bit off the Gibbs’ cars today,” said Keselowski. “We had some great strategy today and we raced our way up front, but we just didn’t have enough to keep in front of them. I’m proud of my Discount Tires Dodge guys today and we’ll just keep digging.”
The No.22 Discount Tire Dodge Charger team will move to Auto Club Speedway in California next week for the Camping World 300. The race can be seen live on Saturday, October 9, on ESPN2 beginning at 4 p.m. EDT. The event can also be heard live on MRN Radio, as well as Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 128.
Brad Keselowski Kansas Lottery 300 Race Statistics
Laps Led: 38
Points Position: 1