Keselowski Finishes 23rd at Pocono

June 13, 2011

LONG POND, Pa. (June 12, 2011) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS), finished 23rd in the 5-Hour Energy 500 at Pocono Raceway on Sunday afternoon. A broken left rear shock mount suffered in the first half of the race kept Keselowski from capitalizing on a car that, at times, looked to be capable of a top-five finish.

Keselowski began the 500-mile event from the 20th position after he posted a lap of 53.097 seconds, or 169.501 miles per hour, during Saturday's qualifying session. As the race began, Keselowski noted that his objective was to take care of his car early in the race to allow it to hold up for 500 laps around the 2.5-mile track known as "the tricky triangle."  Keselowski was especially concerned about the transmission, as this marked the first time he had shifted gears during a race at Pocono. Following a quick caution flag on lap 11, Keselowski radioed to crew chief Paul Wolfe that the handling on the Miller Lite machine was balanced, despite the "dirty" air he was feeling while racing in the pack.

Prior to the race, NASCAR mandated a competition caution at lap 20 to allow teams to check tire wear after rain showers moved through the area overnight. However, a caution flag for debris at lap 18 gave NASCAR an early opportunity to check the conditions. Keselowski had moved his way up to the 15th position by lap 18 and he told Wolfe that his car was running tight in the middle of Turn 1. Wolfe called for a two-tire only pit stop under this caution period and, as a result, Keselowski restarted the race in the fourth position on lap 22.

While the No. 2 Dodge began to build tighter as the race progressed, Keselowski was still able to maintain position inside the top-10. A green-flag stop at lap 43 saw Wolfe call for four fresh tires for his driver and a fast stop by the Miller Lite crew allowed Keselowski to keep his position inside the top-10 when the stops cycled through on lap 50.

On lap 77, just after turning the fastest laps on the racetrack, Keselowski informed his team that a vibration had developed in the rear of the car. Not wanting to take any chances that early in the race, Keselowski brought the Miller Lite Dodge down pit road for four tires, hoping that it was a loose wheel that caused the vibration. Upon returning to the track, he indicated that he still felt the vibration so Wolfe and the team began to diagnose the problem. By pitting out of sequence, Keselowski found himself running one lap down to the race leaders.  By lap 87, however, he had raced his way into position for the "Lucky Dog" award that put him back on the lead lap.

After another green-flag pit stop on lap 108, it was discovered that the No. 2 car had a broken left rear shock mount, which would require some time to repair. The third caution flag of the day flew at lap 111, but Wolfe elected to keep his driver on the racing surface to get the "wave around" that would put him back to lead lap racing. It was the hope of the Miller Lite team that another caution flag would wave quickly to allow the crew to fix the broken shock mount. While waiting for another caution, Keselowski was still able to turn competitive lap times, eventually racing his way back inside the top-20.

A lap 155 caution gave the team the opportunity it was looking for, but Keselowski had to restart the event from 27th position after the work was completed. Once again he began to turn some of the fastest laps on the track, but the repair to the shock mount continued to hamper Keselowski and he crossed the finish line in the 23rd position.

Penske Racing teammate, Kurt Busch, finished second in the 5-Hour Energy 500 after leading a total of 37 laps.

Following Saturday's result, Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge team are currently positioned 22nd in the Cup Series driver and owner point rankings.

"I think the Miller Lite Dodge was a top-five car there at the end when it mattered," said Keselowski. "We had a broken shock, got it fixed and then it broke again. It's just unfortunate. We were a really, really strong car and didn't capitalize on it today. We did what we could, but there are some things you just can't overcome."

Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite team will next compete at the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, June 19. Coverage will be seen live beginning at 1:00 pm ET on TNT. The race will also be heard on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM Satellite Radio Channel 90.