Keselowski Earns 13th-Place Finish at Homestead Finale
November 22, 2010HOMESTEAD, Fla. (November 21, 2010 ) - Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 12 Penske Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Cup Series, finished 13th in the season-ending Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway (HMS) on Sunday afternoon. Keselowski and crew displayed great pit strategy over the final 50 laps to contend for the team's third top-10 finish of the season, but a handling condition hampered the Penske Dodge during the closing laps of the race.
Keselowski started the Ford 400 from the 18th position after posting a lap of 30.734 seconds, or 175.701 miles per hour, during Friday's qualifying session. As the race began, Keselowski radioed to crew chief Jay Guy that his car was running tight in the center of the HMS corners. A lap 18 caution period gave Guy and the team an early opportunity to make adjustments to the car's track bar and air pressure. Keselowski was able to maintain his position inside the top-20, despite the tight-handling condition that persisted through the first 100 laps. To help alleviate the problem for his driver, Guy continued to prescribe changes to the track bar and air pressure, in addition to wedge adjustments on the Penske Dodge
Following a lap 98 caution, Keselowski was penalized for speeding while exiting pit lane and he was forced to restart the race from the 25th position. However, as the track temperature began to cool, Keselowski started to find the necessary speed to begin working his way through the field.
The handling of the No. 12 Penske Dodge continued to improve following a lap 169 restart as Keselowski radioed that his car was much better in the center of the corners. As a result, Keselowski was able to move toward the top-15 in the running order.
With 61 laps remaining in the event, Keselowski found himself running in the 23rd position. He quickly began to turn the fastest laps of anyone on the track as he raced his way to the ninth position within nine laps. As green-flag pit stops began to cycle through late in the race, Keselowski found himself on the tail end of the lead lap, in danger of going a lap down. However, a fortuitous caution flag flew on lap 243 which allowed Keselowski to catch back up to the field. The Penske Dodge then made its final pit stop of the day for four fresh Goodyear radials. Keselowski restarted the race in the 16th position, but once again, he raced his way inside the top-10. Over the final laps of the race, handling again became an issue for the No. 12 Dodge and Keselowski held on to finish 13th.
Penske Racing teammates Kurt Busch and Sam Hornish Jr. finished in 18th and 24nd place, respectively, in the Ford 400.
Following Sunday's result, Keselowski and the Penske Dodge Charger team finished the season ranked 25th in the driver point standings, but they fell one spot to 26th in the owner point standings.
"We came up just a bit short today, but it wasn't from lack of effort," said Keselowski. "It was up and down, but we got a solid 13th out of it. It could have been a lot worse than that. I thought at times it was going to be (worse) and at other times, I thought we had a shot at a top-10 finish. We dug hard, made improvements on the car and got a decent finish. We had a segment there with about 60 to go where we drove up through the field pretty good."
Keselowski will head into the off-season to prepare for the 2011 NASCAR Cup Series schedule. Next season, he will pilot the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, to become just the third driver to get behind the wheel of the legendary Cup Series ride.
Brad Keselowski Ford 400 Race Statistics
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