Keselowski Finishes Third at Iowa Speedway
May 23, 2011
Photo Courtesy of Autostock
NEWTON, Iowa. (May 22, 2011) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS), finished third in the John Deere 250 at Iowa Speedway on Sunday afternoon. The Penske Racing driver also pulled double duty this weekend by finishing second in the All-Star Showdown at Charlotte Motor Speedway to race his way into the NASCAR All-Star Race Saturday night.
After rain canceled all track activity on Friday afternoon it once again halted NNS qualifying session on Saturday afternoon. Due to a rain shorted practice session on Saturday as well, the field was set by the NASCAR rulebook, leaving Keselowski to start in the 10th position. Filling in for Brad during the only practice session was fellow Penske Racing teammate, Sam Hornish Jr. Hornish and the Discount Tire team finished practice in the 12th position, posting an overall time of 23.942 or 131.569 mph.
When the green flag flew on the John Deere 250, Keselowski radioed in to crew chief Todd Gordon that the Discount Tire Dodge Challenger was too tight in the beginning laps of the race. As the race began to progress, things remained calm on the 7/8 mile oval as the cars began to fall into single file. NASCAR mandated a “competition caution" on lap 50 to allow teams to check tire wear after rain from the night before had washed away all the rubber that was once on the track. During this caution, the No. 12 team took four tires, two cans of fuel and added some tape to the left side break duct.
Upon restarting in the eighth position, Keselowski went back to riding the highline which had worked so well for him in the beginning laps of the race. By lap 73, Keselowski had fought his way up to the fifth position. He was racing hard against the No. 20 of Drew Herring for the fourth position when he radioed that he had lost front brakes, while the rear brakes began to chatter. Keselowski was able to maintain his position at the front of the field until a caution flag flew on lap 109 to give Gordon an opportunity to make the necessary repairs.
After restarting second, Keselowski found his way to the front of the field and took the lead on lap 135. With a battle going on behind him for the third position, Keselowski found himself racing the eventual race winner, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., for second. By lap 165, Stenhouse had won the battle and had taken over the first position with Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 60 Roush Fenway Ford, right behind him.
With green flag stops in the near future, Gordon and Keselowski began to discuss strategy and opted for four tires and fuel when the No. 22 Dodge Challenger came down pit road on lap 209. When the current race leader decided to stay out, Keselowski found himself one lap down and in position to receive the “Lucky Dog" award to get back on the lead lap. When the fourth caution of the race flew on lap 218, Keselowski again found himself heading for pit road for four new tires and a piece of tape to the nose of the car. He restarted in the fifth position with 23 laps to go and was able to race his way into the third position by the checkered flag.
Following Sunday's result, Keselowski and the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge team sit ninth in the NASCAR Nationwide Series owner points standings..
“A solid day by the Discount Tire Dodge team today," said Keselowski. “This is a great facility and a fun track to drive. The fans here are amazing and it creates a great atmosphere for racing. Our car was good, but not great. The two Fords (Carl Edwards and Ricky Stenhouse Jr) were just really fast today and we didn't have enough at the end to make a run at them. A strong day for our race team and I'm happy for Ricky to get the win. He's a class act and has worked his tail off to enjoy this win."
Keselowski and the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge team will visit Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday, May 28 for the Top Gear 300. Live coverage will begin at 2:00 pm ET on the ABC Network. The race will also be heard on the Performance Racing Network and Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 90.