Keselowski Leads Laps but Finishes 17th at Daytona International Speedway
July 2, 2011
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 1, 2011) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS), finished 17th in the Subway Jalapeno 250 at Daytona International Speedway (DIS) on Friday night. Keselowski was able to race his way to the lead late in the race, but his drafting partner faded at the end and the two lost valuable track position in the closing laps.
Keselowski began the 100-lap race from the 11th position after posting a lap of 50.106 seconds, or 179.619 miles per hour, during the Friday morning qualifying session. When the green flag flew to begin the race, Keselowski hooked up with the No. 88 of Aric Almirola as the two began to execute the two-car draft that has come to define the racing at DIS. By lap 9, Almirola had pushed the Discount Tire machine into the lead. When the first caution of the day flew on lap 26, crew chief Todd Gordon called his driver down pit road for four fresh Goodyear radials and two cans of Sunoco fuel. Keselowski was happy with the handling of the No. 22 Dodge, so Gordon made no chassis adjustments. The team restarted the race in the eighth position at lap 31.
As the race restarted at lap 38, following another caution period, Keselowski radioed that he felt his right front tire was flat. He quickly made his way down pit road for right side tires, where it was discovered that he had indeed run something over and caused a one-inch gash in the outer belt. He returned to the racetrack in the 33rd position, at the tail end of the lead lap. Keselowski was able to catch a break at lap 44 when the third caution flag of the day flew over the field.
After remaining on the racing surface, Keselowski restarted the event from the fifth position as other competitors chose to make their way down pit road for service. He quickly hooked up with the No. 18 of Kyle Busch and the two rivals began to make their way to the front of the field. He was able to push Busch into the lead at lap 66 before the two swapped positions
Gordon called Keselowski down pit road for the final time on lap 81, with the field under the fifth caution of the event. Once again, no adjustments were made to the chassis as Keselowski was happy with the handling of the Discount Tire Dodge. Over the final laps of the event, Keselowski chose to work with the No. 4 of Kevin Harvick. Harvick shoved Keselowski into the lead at lap 95, but the two could not stay hooked together over the final four laps. As the race ended with a multi-car wreck, Keselowski was able to cross the line unharmed in the 17th position.
Following Saturday’s result, Keselowski and the No. 22 team are ranked ninth in the Nationwide Series owner point standings.
“We had a fast, fast Discount Tire Dodge Challenger tonight,” said Keselowski. “We ran a good race. We just didn’t get the finish that we wanted. We led a bunch of laps. I had to work through some adversity with the flat tire during the second caution; we were under yellow and heading to the green. We fell back to 33rd, but caught a break and stayed on the lead lap. We got another quick caution and didn’t have to pit. That got all of our track position back. From there, it was just typical back-and-forth, restrictor-plate racing. We got our Discount Tire Dodge up front at the end when it counts, but just couldn’t get the finish we wanted.”
The No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge team will visit Kentucky Speedway on Friday, July 8 for the Feed the Children 300. Live coverage will begin at 7:30 pm ET on ESPN. The race will also be heard on the Performance Racing Network and Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 90.