Keselowski Fights to Secure 9th-Place Finish at RIR

April 29, 2012

RICHMOND, Va.  (April 28, 2012) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the Penske Racing No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS), finished ninth in the Capital City 400 presented by Virginia is for Lovers at Richmond International Raceway (RIR) on Saturday night. Keselowski displayed speed throughout the event, but had to overcome an issue on the rear of the Miller Lite machine to secure the top-10 finish.

Keselowski began the 400-lap event from the 16th position based on his qualifying lap of 21.261 seconds, or 126.993 miles per hour, around the .75-mile oval during the Friday afternoon qualifying session. When the green flag dropped to start the event, Keselowski wasted little time in showing the strength of his Miller Lite Dodge. By lap 21, he was consistently turning some of the fastest laps on the track, eventually racing his way into the top 10 at lap 31. Keselowski reported to crew chief Paul Wolfe that the No. 2 car was handling loose entering Turn 3 and it had a slight lack of forward drive on corner exit at both ends of the track. NASCAR mandated a competition caution at lap 50 due to rain showers that moved over the area during the afternoon. Wolfe took this opportunity to make a track bar adjustment on the Miller Lite machine before Keselowski restarted the event from ninth position at lap 57.

Following the initial round of adjustments, Keselowski noted that his car was better on corner entry, but had begun to tighten up just past the center of both ends of the track. He maintained his position inside the top 10 until the second caution flag of the day, at lap 117. This allowed Wolfe and the team the chance to make an additional track bar change, as well as an adjustment to the air pressure in the Goodyear radials. Solid pit work by the Miller Lite crew advanced Keselowski one position as he restarted the race from the eighth spot at lap 123.

As the race resumed, Keselowski found himself stuck in the outside line with no opportunity to make his way to the bottom of the track. As a result, he lost several positions before settling in to the 14th spot at lap 129. While trying to maneuver his way back to the front of the field, Keselowski radioed that the No. 2 machine experienced an issue at the rear of the car that caused his Dodge to lose rear grip in the corners. This inconsistent issue plagued Keselowski for the remainder of the race, despite the fact that he could, occasionally, turn lap times as fast as the race leader.

The field began to make its way down pit road for green-flag pit stops around the halfway mark. Following a routine stop for tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment, Keselowski found himself running in the 12th position thanks to another great pit sequence by the Miller Lite crew. At this point, the No. 2 Dodge displayed great short-run speed, but the car began to run freer as the run progressed. A determined Keselowski was able to maintain his position just outside the top 10 as the race moved into the final 100 laps.

As the race wound to completion, a final caution flag flew at lap 387 to give Wolfe and the crew one final shot to give their driver the adjustments he needed to balance out the handling of the Miller Lite Dodge. Once again the pit crew proved up to the task as they got Keselowski off pit road in the 10th position with eight laps remaining. Keselowski was able to pick up one more position before crossing the finish line in ninth place, for his fourth top-10 result of the season.

Penske Racing teammate, AJ Allmendinger, finished in 16th place in Saturday’s Capital City 400.

“We had a pretty decent Miller Lite Dodge tonight,” said Keselowski. “I don’t think we were the fastest, but we had a decent Dodge…just needed a little bit more. We had some issues that we’ll have to get fixed, but a great job on pit road, great job with strategy and decent speed. I was happy with our ninth-place finish.  Obviously you want to win whenever you can but I thought we showed a lot more speed than we had here last year in the spring and fall.”

Following Saturday night’s event, Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge team are ranked 13th in the driver point standings and 14th in the owner point rankings.

Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge team will next race at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, May 6, in the Aaron’s 499. Coverage will be seen live beginning at 12:00 pm EST on FOX. The race will also be heard on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 90.