Keselowski Picks Up Ninth-Place Finish in Brickyard 400

August 1, 2011

Keselowski Picks Up Ninth-Place Finish in Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis

 SPEEDWAY, Ind. (July 31, 2011) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS), finished ninth in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) on Sunday afternoon. The Penske Racing driver looked to be a contender for the win as he led laps late in the race. However, strong fuel mileage from other competitors kept the team from capitalizing on its own fuel strategy late in the race.

 Keselowski began the 160-lap event from the fifth position after posting a lap of 49.300 seconds, or 182.556 miles per hour, during Saturday’s qualifying session. As the green flag flew, Keselowski radioed to his team that the Miller Lite Dodge had a tight-handling condition in the center of the 90-degee IMS corners. As he took good care of his right front tire until the first pit stop, Keselowski fell back to the 11th position before coming down pit road under the green flag at lap 26 for tires, fuel and adjustments to the air pressure and wedge. Once the pit stops cycled through, Keselowski found himself running in 10th place.

 As the second run began, the handling condition remained the same on the Miller Lite machine. However, the longer Keselowski ran the more the handling improved. By lap 30, he was turning the fastest laps on the track. He radioed to crew chief Paul Wolfe that he still needed more help turning the car, especially in “dirty air.” Wolfe continued to make adjustments to the air pressure and wedge, and he seemed to hit on the right combination following a lap 74 pit stop. Following a round of green-flag pit stops, Keselowski returned to the track running one lap down to the race leaders, but in “clean air.” Once again, Keselowski began to post some of the fastest lap times on the track. As the pit stops cycled through, Keselowski earned his lap back and he began to set his sights on the front of the field.

 Keselowski radioed to Wolfe to communicate that his car was running “really good.” When the caution flag flew at lap 114, Wolfe elected to keep his driver on the racing surface to assume the lead. This placed the Miller Lite team inside a fuel window where they could make it to the finish on just one more stop. Keselowski relinquished the lead at lap 131 when he made his way down pit road for the final time for fuel, tires and another air pressure adjustment. He returned to the track in the 24th position, but many competitors still had to make their final pit stops. He looked to be in position to reclaim the lead before the finish of the race, but the competitors at the front of the field were able to get great fuel mileage and Keselowski was not able to gain back the track position he enjoyed before the final pit stop.

 Penske Racing teammate, Kurt Busch, finished 21st in Sunday’s Brickyard 400.

 Following Sunday’s result, Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge team are currently ranked 21st in the Cup Series driver and owner point standings, just 16 points outside of 20th place.

 “It was kind of an up-and-down day for the Miller Lite Dodge,” said Keselowski. “At the three-quarter part of the race I thought that we were going to win the Brickyard. It just didn’t quite work out, but we made our car faster throughout the day and I was proud of that. It’s a hot day and my team battled all day long. We knew that we had to do a one-stop at the end. I thought (crew chief) Paul (Wolfe) made the right move. We need to gamble a bit to get that second win, but we also have to be conscious of earning points. I was really surprised that so many cars were able to stay out there as long as they did. It kind of caught me off guard and we just weren’t able to run that long and not pit. We were fast at the end and it was fun.”

 Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite team will next compete in the Good Sam RV Insurance 500 at Pocono Raceway on Sunday, August 7. Coverage will be seen live beginning at 1:00 pm ET on ESPN. The race will also be heard on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM Satellite Radio Channel 90.