MADISON, Ill. (October 23, 2010) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the Penske Racing No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, picked up his sixth win of 2010 in the 5-Hour Energy 250 at Gateway International Raceway (GIR) on Saturday afternoon. The win is the second-consecutive Nationwide Series win for the Penske Racing driver. Keselowski and teammate Justin Allgaier combined to lead 171 of the 200 laps in the last race at the 1.25-mile oval just outside of St. Louis, Mo.
Keselowski continues to lead the Nationwide Series driver point standings by 485 points over second-place contender Carl Edwards.
Parker Kligerman practiced and qualified the Discount Tire Dodge while Keselowski attended to his Cup Series duties in Martinsville, Va. Kligerman qualified the car in the 20th position with a lap of 33.840 seconds, or 132.979 mph, during the Saturday morning time trials. However, with the driver change, Keselowski was forced to start the race from the 41st position.
When the green flag fell to start the race it was evident that Keselowski had a car that he could drive to the front of the field. By lap 11, he was running in the 20th position while turning laps as fast as the race leader Allgaier. Keselowski radioed to crew chief Paul Wolfe that his car was tight while in traffic and he needed to be better on the entry of the corners. When the first caution flag of the day fell on lap 47, with Keselowski firmly inside the top 10, Wolfe called for wedge and air pressure adjustments. The Discount Tire Dodge driver restarted the race from the eighth position on lap 52.
Keselowski maintained one of the fastest cars on the track following the initial pit stop. He stated that the No. 22 Dodge needed to turn better in the center of Turns 3 and 4. When another caution flag flew on lap 75, Wolfe called for a two-tire pit stop. This strategy placed Keselowski in the lead for the restart on lap 80. He led the race until lap 110, when he briefly gave up the lead for only four laps before returning to the top spot on lap 114. A very fast green-flag pit stop by the No. 22 pit crew on lap 156 kept Keselowski at the front of the field.
Allgaier was able to make his way around Keselowski for the lead on lap 176 before the final caution flag of the day flew on lap 190. As the leaders made their way down pit road for their final stop, Wolfe elected to change all four tires instead of taking two tires like several other competitors. As a result, Keselowski restarted the race in the sixth position on lap 197. While it looked like a sure win would slip through his grasp, Keselowski was able to will his No. 22 Dodge to the outside of each car in front of him to secure his first victory at the GIR oval.
With the finish, Keselowski extends his NASCAR record with his 98th consecutive Nationwide Series race without a DNF (Did Not Finish).
Penske Racing teammate Justin Allgaier finished in third position.
“Thirteen months ago, when Discount Tire called me and wanted me to drive this car, I knew it was going to be something special, but I didn’t know that it was going to be this good,” said Keselowski. “Thanks to everyone at Discount Tire, Ruby Tuesday, Dodge and Penske Racing. To get another win for Roger and finally get this Gateway win, in the final race at this race track here in Illinois, is awesome.”
The No.22 Discount Tire Dodge Charger team will enjoy an off weekend before heading to Texas Motor Speedway for the O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge. The race can be seen live on Saturday, November 6, on ESPN2 beginning at Noon EDT. The event can also be heard live on PRN Radio, as well as Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 128.
Brad Keselowski 5-Hour Energy 250 Race Statistics
Laps Led: 83
Points Position: 1