Multiple Incidents Lead to 19th-Place Finish for Keselowski
September 10, 2011RICHMOND, Va. (September 9, 2011) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 22 Ruby Tuesday Dodge Challenger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS), finished 19th in the Virginia 529 College Savings 250 at Richmond International Raceway (RIR) on Friday night. Keselowski, a former NNS winner at RIR, was involved in two incidents that led to him finishing one lap down to the eventual race winner, Kyle Busch.
Keselowski began the 250-lap race from the pole position – his third top qualifying spot of the season and 11th of his NNS career – after posting a lap of 21.817 seconds, or 123.757 miles per hour, during the Friday afternoon qualifying session. Keselowski was able to lead the field for the first eight laps before yielding to the No. 60 car of Carl Edwards. After settling into the second position, Keselowski radioed that his car was handling loose in the middle and the exit of the RIR corners. A lap 67 caution gave crew chief Todd Gordon an opportunity to make air pressure adjustments to the Ruby Tuesday Dodge, while taking four fresh Goodyear radials and fuel.
As the race resumed on lap 79, Keselowski took the green flag in the second position. He entered Turn 1 on the outside line, but the Ruby Tuesday machine did not make the corner cleanly and Keselowski made contact with the outside wall to bring out the caution flag. Keselowski visited pit road for repairs and a track bar adjustment and returned to the track in the 22nd position.
The contact with the outside wall had a significant effect on the handling of the No. 22 Ruby Tuesday Dodge and, as a result, Keselowski lost a lap to the race leaders at lap 136. While racing his way into contention for the “Lucky Dog” award to return to the lead lap, Keselowski was involved in an incident with the No. 7 car driven by Danica Patrick. Patrick took complete blame for hitting Keselowski in the left rear quarter panel while getting into Turn 3, but the damage required two visits to pit road before Keselowski could continue.
In the waning laps, Keselowski continued to race his way into the “Lucky Dog” position, only to have the race leader put another car one lap down just prior to the caution flag waving. Following a late wedge adjustment to both front springs, Keselowski radioed that the car had come to life, but he could not catch a break to get his lap back. He crossed the finish line in 19th place, positioned one lap down to Busch and the other race leaders.
Following Friday’s result, Keselowski and the No. 22 team remain seventh in the Nationwide Series owner point standings.
“We had a lot better car than what we showed,” said Gordon. “Don’t know what happened there on that restart. It seemed like the car got down on the splitter and took off up the racetrack. I’m not sure if it was that or the oil from the 40 (car driven by Josh Wise) that had oiled down the racetrack. Something happened, just not characteristic of what the car had done to that point. That kind of unraveled the night. We kept digging at it and I think we got the car where it was able to race again but just not enough cautions, not enough opportunities to work on it. A tough night for the Ruby Tuesday Dodge.”
The No. 22 Ruby Tuesday Dodge team will next visit Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday, September 17 for the Dollar General 300. Live coverage will begin at 3:30 pm ET on ESPN2. The race will also be heard on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 90.
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