Keselowski Finishes Fourth at Talladega
October 24, 2011TALLADEGA, Ala. (October 23, 2011) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS), finished fourth in the Good Sam Club 500 – the sixth race in the 2011 Chase for the Championship – at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday afternoon. With the result, Keselowski jumped to the third position in the Chase standings, and is now just 18 points behind the series leader. The finish by Keselowski was also the highest among the 12 drivers competing in the Chase.
Keselowski began Sunday’s 188-lap event from the 16th position after posting a lap of 53.250 seconds, or 179.831 miles per hour, around the 2.66-mile oval during the Saturday qualifying session. When the green flag flew to start the event, Keselowski and the Miller Lite Dodge, in a pre-determined strategy, immediately hooked up with No. 36 car driven by Dave Blaney to execute the two-car draft that has come to define restrictor-plate racing this season. The two-car draft consists of two cars lining up nose-to-tail the entire way around the track. This allows those two cars to go faster than either a single car, or a large pack of cars.
The duo remained committed to the strategy and they played it conservatively over the first 40 laps of the race, as they tried to avoid a multi-car accident that is common at Talladega. Keselowski was happy with the balance of the Miller Lite machine, which resulted in crew chief Paul Wolfe calling for only four tires and fuel on each trip down pit road.
At lap 68, Keselowski and Blaney decided to push their equipment to gauge what they would have at the end of the race. The resulting lap was the fastest lap of the event, up to that point. This gave them the confidence that they could race their way to the front of the field if they were in a good position at the end of the race.
Lap 105 brought about a multi-car incident that eliminated several Chase contenders, reaffirming Keselowski’s belief in the cautious approach. Following a lap 110 restart, Keselowski raced his way into the sixth position and he would remain at the front half of the field for the balance of the event.
The final pit stop of the race for the Miller Lite team came under the yellow flag at lap 163, when Wolfe called for fuel only. After restarting the race from the sixth position at lap 168, Keselowski was able to push Blaney into the lead on the next lap. Through two late-race caution periods, the tandem never wavered from their two-car strategy and Keselowski was able to push Blaney to a third-place finish and he followed with his own fourth-place result.
Penske Racing teammate, Kurt Busch, finished 36th in Sunday’s Good Sam Club 500.
Following the result, Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge team moved up three positions to third place in the Cup Series driver and owner point standings.
“It was interesting the whole race,” said Keselowski, whose Miller Lite car carried the message “in Memory of Dan” on its bumper in honor of fallen IndyCar Series driver Dan Wheldon.”Our Miller Lite Dodge was fast all day. I worked really hard with Dave Blaney all day. He was a great, great helper and I owe a lot of credit to him. We stayed smart and brought it up front at the end. I’m very proud of the effort, proud to have a good day and very fortunate to have missed all the wrecks today. It must have had something to do with ‘In Memory of Dan’ on the back of the car. It was a great day for us and I just want to say a shout-out to him and his family.”
The seventh race for Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite team in the 2011 Chase for the Championship will be the Tums Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, October 30. Live coverage will begin at 1:30 pm ET on ESPN. The race will also be heard on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM Satellite Radio Channel 90.
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