Keselowski Finishes 19th in Brickyard Debut

July 26, 2010

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (July 25, 2010) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 12 Penske Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Cup Series, finished 19th in the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday afternoon. Keselowski and the No. 12 team had to overcome several incidents throughout the race to earn the top-20 result.

Making his first career start at the famed Indianapolis oval, Keselowski posted one of his best qualifying efforts of the season when he toured the 2.5-mile track in 49.756 seconds, or 180.883 miles per hour, on Saturday. The lap placed him 11th in the 43-car starting lineup. As the 160-lap race began, Keselowski was able to keep his No. 12 Penske Dodge Charger near the top-10 in the running order. However, his car began to develop an overheating issue on lap nine as grass from another competitor that ran off course blocked the grill opening to the No. 12’s radiator. Keselowski was forced to pit on lap 11 to allow his pit crew to clean the area, and he lost a lap to the leaders as a result. He was able to keep his car in position for the “Lucky Dog” free pass, which he received when the caution flag flew on lap 14. As he returned to lead-lap racing, Keselowski restarted the race in the 30th position on lap 20.

As the race resumed, Keselowski quickly moved into the 25th position before radioing crew chief Jay Guy to report that he had developed a vibration in one of his tires. Guy elected to call his driver down pit road early at lap 40 for four Goodyear radial tires to alleviate the problem. While on pit road under the green flag, Keselowski once again lost a lap to the race leaders. This placed Keselowski on a different pit sequence than the rest of the field and when the race leaders began making their green-flag pit stops on lap 50, Keselowski found himself back on the tail end of the lead lap. A timely caution flag flew on lap 65 with the leaders five seconds behind the Penske Racing driver.

After overcoming the challenges he faced in the early portion of the race, Keselowski then had to deal with a tight-handling condition on his No. 12 Dodge. Guy called him down pit road on lap 97 for air pressure adjustments while Keselowski was running in the 24th position. As he entered his pit box, Keselowski made slight contact with the No. 16 car of Greg Biffle. The contact created a small hole in the right-side of the nose of the car that compounded the tight-handling condition. A lap 116 caution period gave the No. 12 crew a chance to repair the area. Keselowski restarted the race from the 22nd position on lap 121. 

As he started to find his groove, Keselowski drove the car into the top-20 by lap 124. The adjustments made by Guy and the Penske Dodge team had the desired effect on the chassis and Keselowski looked to be in contention for at least a top-15 finish as he turned some of the fastest laps on the racetrack. The aerodynamic disadvantage of running in the middle of the pack slowed Keselowski’s progress, however, as he crossed the finish line in the 19th spot in the running order.     

With Sunday’s result, Keselowski moved up one spot to 25th in the Cup Series point standings.

"It was a solid run for our Penske Dodge,” said Keselowski. “We really recovered from what could have been a very long day and that's a great feeling. We had to make extra pit stops to get our front end cleaned off. Then I thought I had tire problems and pitted again, so it was a busy day. We threw everything we had at it today. It could have been a lot worse, so we'll take a top 20."

Penske Racing teammates Kurt Busch and Sam Hornish, Jr. finished in 10th and 30th place, respectively.

The No. 12 Penske Dodge team will move to Pocono (Pa.) Raceway for the second time this season for the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500. The event will be seen live on Sunday, August 1 on ESPN beginning at 1:00 p.m. EDT. The event will also be heard live on the Motor Racing Network, as well as Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 128.


Brad Keselowski Brickyard 400 Race Statistics
Start: 11
Finish: 19
Laps: 160/160
Laps Led: 0 
Status: Running
Points Position: 25