Keselowski Finishes 7th in Wild Race at Talladega
October 8, 2012TALLADEGA, Ala. (October 7, 2012) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the Penske Racing No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS), finished seventh in the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 – the fourth race in the 2012 Chase for the Championship – at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday afternoon. Keselowski survived a wild, multi-car wreck at the end of the event to bring home his 19th top-10 finish of 2012. With the result, the Penske Racing driver now leads the series championship standings by 14 points over Jimmie Johnson.
Keselowski started the scheduled 188-lap race from the 22nd position after posting a time of 50.459 seconds, or 189.778 miles per hour, around the 2.66-mile oval during the Saturday afternoon qualifying session. As the green flag flew to start the event, Keselowski quickly began to test the strength of his Miller Lite Dodge as he made his way into the top 10 by the third lap. He was running in the 12th spot when the first caution of the day occurred at lap 17. Crew chief Paul Wolfe brought his driver down pit road for two tires and fuel – no chassis adjustments were required by the team throughout the race – and Keselowski restarted the event from the 12th position at lap 22.
During the second run of the race, Keselowski elected to move to the back of the pack to save his car for an expected run for the win at the conclusion of the race. Several times during the race Keselowski made moves to determine what was needed to challenge for the win at the end. Keselowski made his first four-tire stop of the day at lap 59, under the green flag. When the pit stops cycled through at lap 63, he found himself running in the 13th position.
Keselowski decided to reclaim his position towards the front of the field, eventually working his way up to fourth place at lap 88, as the race moved past the halfway point. Fast pit work by the Miller Lite team at laps 100 and 140, both under caution periods, kept Keselowski running towards the front of the field as the race neared its conclusion.
Following a lap 144 restart when he took the green flag in the second position, Keselowski radioed that he was happy to hold a spot inside the top 10 without getting overly aggressive until it was time to make his move. At lap 183, he began to work the high line of the track with his Penske Racing teammate, Sam Hornish Jr., to see if he could make his way to the lead and grab a bonus point. However, a caution flag was displayed at lap 184 to thwart their effort. Unsure if the Miller Lite machine had enough fuel to make it to the end, Keselowski made a fuel-only pit stop during a late yellow-flag period. He restarted the race from the 15th position at lap 188.
The subsequent “green-white-checkered” flag finish pushed the race one lap past its scheduled distance. As the field began to make its way through Turns 1 and 2 on the final lap, a multi-car accident was triggered at the front of the field. Keselowski, who had fortuitously moved to the bottom of the racetrack, was able to slowly maneuver his way through the incident to grab a solid, seventh-place finish.
Hornish Jr. finished 24th in Sunday’s Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500.
“We were four-wide for about two-and-a-half straight laps and it’s just a matter of time before you wreck,” said Keselowski. “It happens but that’s just Talladega. I ran the bottom lane knowing that it was going to happen and that I could at least escape it. It’s not really how I wanted to leave Talladega, but we survived it with the points lead. That’s pretty big.”
Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge team will next race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday, October 13 in the Bank of America 500 – the fifth race in the 2012 Chase for the Championship. Coverage of the event will be seen live beginning at 7:00 pm EST on ABC. The race will also be heard on the Performance Racing Network and Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 90.
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