TALLADEGA, Ala. (October 31, 2010 ) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 12 Penske Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Cup Series, finished 10th in the AMP Energy Juice 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday afternoon. Keselowski rallied from an early on-track incident to record his second-consecutive top-10 finish of 2010 in a race that featured 87 lead changes, second-most in NASCAR history.
Keselowski, a former winner in both the Cup Series and Nationwide Series at Talladega, began Sunday’s event from the 11th position as he toured the 2.66-mile oval in 52.168 seconds, or 183.561 mph, during Saturday’s qualifying session. As the green flag flew to start the event, Keselowski quickly moved to the top groove around the racetrack. He was able to find a drafting partner in Penske Racing teammate Sam Hornish Jr. and the two began to make their way to the front of the field. Keselowski captured the race lead for the first time on lap 10. He radioed to crew chief Jay Guy that he was very happy with the No. 12 Dodge, so Guy elected to make no adjustments during the first pit stop, which occurred under the green flag on lap 37.
The first caution flag of the day flew on lap 70 as Keselowski made contact with the rear bumper of the No. 43 car of AJ Allmendinger as Allmendinger had to slow to avoid a near-spin by the car in front of him. The No. 12 Penske Dodge suffered damage to its nose and Keselowski had to bring it down pit road for repairs. As the race resumed on lap 74, Keselowski settled into a nice pace before making another charge through the field. He was able to make his way back near the top-10 before another green-flag stop on lap 112. As Keselowski left the pit stall, the No. 12 Dodge stalled and had to be re-started. This resulted in Keselowski losing his drafting help when he returned to the track. Fortunately, a lap 137 caution flag allowed him to catch back up to the lead pack
Despite the damage to the front of his car, Keselowski was able to continue to slice his way through the field. Guy informed Keselowski that the nose of the No. 12 Dodge would not be able to absorb much contact, so the driver elected to save his “bump-drafting” until late in the race. Following a caution flag on lap 181, Keselowski restarted the race in the 29th position on lap 185. He was able to race his way up to the 10th spot before the race ended under caution on the last lap.
Following Sunday’s result, Keselowski and the Penske Dodge Charger team remain 25th in both the driver and owner point standings.
Penske Racing teammates Sam Hornish Jr. and Kurt Busch finished in 15th and 30th place, respectively, in the AMP Energy Juice 500.
“It was a solid day for the Penske Dodge,” said Keselowski. “This was the last run for this front end, so hopefully we can get a little stronger with the new nose before Daytona (in 2011). We got a solid finish out of it and I’m proud of everyone at Penske that helped build this car. It’s Talladega. We survived. The car is in one piece and we ran strong most of the day. We’ll take it.”
The No. 12 team will head to Texas Motor Speedway next weekend for the AAA Texas 500. The race will be seen live on Sunday, November 7 on ESPN, beginning at 3 p.m. EDT. The event will also be heard live on the Performance Racing Network, as well as Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 128.
Brad Keselowski AMP Energy Juice 500 Race Statistics
Laps Led: 7
Points Position: 25