Keselowski Finishes 27th at Michigan International Speedway

June 14, 2010

BROOKLYN, Mich. (June 13, 2010) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 12 Penske Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Cup Series, finished 27th in the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 on Sunday afternoon at Michigan International Speedway. A tight-handling condition on the Penske Dodge throughout the 200-lap event kept Keselowski from picking up a solid finish at his “home” track. The race was completed in just 2 hours and 33 minutes as the yellow flag was displayed a mere four times for just 14 laps under caution.

Keselowski, a native of Rochester Hills, Mich., made his first start at the two-mile oval as a member of Penske Racing on Sunday. Team owner Roger Penske is also a Michigan resident. The 26-year-old Keselowski owns one Nationwide Series win at the track, which came in 2009.

In Friday qualifying, Keselowski recorded the 33rd-fastest lap as he toured the circuit in 38.649 seconds, or 186.292 miles per hour. As the race began, he radioed to crew chief Jay Guy that his car needed to “roll the center” of the corner better and, as a result, it was too loose on the exit of the turns. As the first caution flag flew on lap 18 with Keselowski running in the 24th position, Guy called his driver down pit road for track bar and air pressure adjustments. He restarted the race from the 26th position, despite fast work by the No. 12 pit crew, as many of the other competitors elected to take only two tires on pit lane.

While the first round of adjustments allowed the car to turn better in the center of the corners, Keselowski was still fighting a lack of front grip on the Penske Dodge. Despite the condition, he was able to race his way towards the top-20 cars before the next caution flag flew on lap 47. Once again, the team made adjustments to the track bar and air pressure in an attempt to give Keselowski a car that could race to the front.

As the race moved towards its halfway point, the ill-handling condition of the Penske Dodge Charger persisted. Keselowski continued to flirt with the top-20 as Guy sought to find something that would help the driver in his biggest problem spot – the center of the corners. The No. 12 team seemed close to finding something after a two-tire pit stop resulted in Keselowski restarting the race from the 22nd position on lap 103. This was his highest position in the running order.

One of the traits of Michigan International Speedway that endears it to many drivers in the Cup Series is the width of the racing surface. The track width allowed Keselowski to move his racing line around as he searched for areas where his car would perform better. As Keselowski did this, his lap times improved over a short run, but he was not able to maintain the momentum.

On lap 154, Keselowski fell a lap down to the leaders. He continued to race hard for the “Lucky Dog” free pass back onto the lead lap while Guy became more-aggressive with his adjustments. Wedge and track bar changes still had no affect on the car’s handling condition. Keselowski crossed the finish line in 27th place, off the lead lap for just the fourth time this season. 

Keselowski remains 24th in the Cup Series point standings following Sunday’s result.

“It was a tough day for our Penske Dodge,” said Keselowski. “We just missed it. I’m not sure what happened.  We’ll go back and take a look at the numbers and see where we can be better.”

Penske Racing teammates Kurt Busch and Sam Hornish Jr. finished in third and 26th place, respectively.

The No. 12 Penske Dodge team will move to Infineon Raceway next weekend. The Toyota/Save Mart 350 will be seen live on Sunday, June 20 on TNT beginning at 3:00 p.m. EDT. The event will also be heard live on PRN Radio, as well as Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 128.


Brad Keselowski Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 Race Statistics
Start: 33
Finish: 27   
Laps: 199/200
Laps Led: 0 
Status: Running
Points Position: 24