Keselowski Finishes Sixth in Top Gear 300 at Charlotte
May 29, 2011
Photo Courtesy of Autostock
CONCORD, N.C. (May 28, 2011) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS), finished sixth in the Top Gear 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (CMS) on Saturday afternoon. The finish represents the ninth top-10 result of the season for the reigning NNS champion.
Keselowski started the 200-lap event from the 13th position after posting a lap of 29.434 seconds, or 183,461 miles per hour, in the morning qualifying session. When the green flag fell, he immediately set his sights on securing a spot inside the top-10, which he achieved by lap 11. Keselowski radioed to crew chief Todd Gordon that his car was loose-handling as it entered the CMS corners, but it was tight as he moved to the center of the turns.
NASCAR instituted a competition caution period at lap 25 to allow teams to assess tire wear after rain showers moved through the area overnight. This gave Gordon an opportunity to make an adjustment to the air pressure, while the team also added tape to the nose of the car to improve downforce. Keselowski restarted the race in the ninth position on lap 31.
Upon returning to racing action, Keselowski stated that his car was very "racy" and he began to click off some of the fastest laps on the track. While his Discount Tire machine was still running tight in the center of the corners, Keselowski was able to work his way into the top-five on lap 69. He was able to maintain his position at the front of the field as Gordon and the No. 22 crew continued to make adjustments to the air pressure and track bar to give their driver a car that could contend for the win.
As the race moved past the halfway point, Keselowski radioed that his Dodge Challenger continued to get tighter as the run progressed. A caution on lap 136 allowed Gordon to make a final air pressure adjustment on the Discount Tire Dodge. When he returned to the track, Keselowski noted that the car had developed a vibration in one of its tires. He was able to nurse his car to the next caution period, which occurred at lap 148. Keselowski brought his car down pit road for four fresh tires, which alleviated the vibration. After he restarted the race in the ninth position at lap 155, Keselowski was able to make his way up to sixth place by the checkered flag.
Following Saturday's result, Keselowski and the No. 22 team sit eighth in the Nationwide Series owner point standings.
"It was an uneventful day for the Discount Tire Dodge team," said Keselowski. "We were about a sixth or seventh-place car all day. We want to win these Nationwide Series races, but we're just missing something with our car. Track position was so important here and when you don't qualify well, it makes a difference. We just need a little bit more. If we can get our race cars to turn better (in the center of the corner), I know that we'll see Victory Lane."
Keselowski and the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge team will visit Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday, June 4 for the STP 300. Live coverage will begin at 8:00 pm ET on ESPN. The race will also be heard on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 90.