CONCORD, N.C. (October 16, 2010 ) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 12 Penske Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Cup Series, finished 27th in the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday night. The Penske Dodge suffered contact early in the race, which put the team at a disadvantage, but the No. 12 team was able to regroup and run strong before more contact later in the race hampered the car’s handling.
Keselowski began Sunday’s event from the 31st position as he toured the 1.5-mile oval in 28.570 seconds, or 189.009 mph, during Thursday’s qualifying session. When the green flag fell to start Saturday’s 334-lap race, Keselowski looked to carve his way through the field armed with the confidence and knowledge he gathered on his way to winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series race on Friday night at the Charlotte oval. On just the second lap of the race, however, Keselowski made slight contact with the No. 14 car driven by Tony Stewart as both drivers tried to maneuver around another competitor who had spun his car on track. While the damage to the No. 12 car was minor, it did force Keselowski down pit road for repairs to the nose of the Penske Dodge Charger.
As the race restarted, Keselowski found himself in the 42nd position, but he quickly raced his way inside the top-30 before the second caution flag flew on lap 24. Following a four-tire stop that included air pressure adjustments, Keselowski restarted the race from the 32nd spot on lap 29. As the race moved past the 100-lap mark, Keselowski demonstrated that he still had a very fast car, despite the damage to the nose on the Penske Dodge. He began turning lap times as fast as the cars running inside the top-15 and he found himself breaking into the top-20 in the running order.
At the halfway point of the race, Keselowski radioed to crew chief Jay Guy that he was happy with the balance of the car, but he needed it to turn a little better in the center of the corners. Guy called his driver down pit road for a green-flag pit stop on lap 174 which included a wedge adjustment to help alleviate the handling problem. As the green-flag stops cycled through, Keselowski was positioned one lap down to the race leaders.
Later in the race, the No. 12 Dodge was hit in the left rear quarter panel by the No. 82 car of Scott Speed. While it was minor damage at that time, it became progressively worse. Keselowski once again entered pit road for adjustments, as well as repairs to the body of the car, under a lap 203 caution, He restarted the race in the 25th position on lap 208 and Keselowski did a good job staying in position to earn the “lucky dog” free pass back to lead-lap racing. However, with the damage to the nose and quarter panel on the No. 12, Keselowski had a hard time navigating the “dirty” air while running in a pack of cars. He lost another lap to the race leaders before crossing the finish line in the 27th position.
Following Saturday’s result, Keselowski and the Penske Dodge Charger team remain 25th in both the driver and owner point standings.
Penske Racing teammates Kurt Busch and Sam Hornish Jr. finished in 30th and 40th place, respectively, in the Bank of America 500.
“Certainly not the night our Penske Dodges were looking for, that’s for sure,” said Keselowski. “We’re all kind of scratching our heads over this one. If we had answers for tonight, we sure would have fixed the problems that all three of us had. We just missed something tonight. We thought that we had a good baseline off of Kurt’s car here from the spring, but something changed and we need to figure out what happened. It’s very confusing.”
The No. 12 team will head to Martinsville Speedway next weekend. The Tums Fast Relief 500 will be seen live on Sunday, October 24 on ESPN, beginning at 1 p.m. EDT. The event will also be heard live on the Motor Racing Network, as well as Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 128.
Brad Keselowski Bank of America 500 Race Statistics
Laps Led: 0
Points Position: 25