Hard Work Nets Keselowski 12th-Place Finish at Dover

June 3, 2012

DOVER, Del.  (June 3, 2012) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the Penske Racing No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS), finished 12th in the FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway (DIS) on Sunday afternoon. Late in the race it seemed Keselowski had a car that could contend for a top-five finish, but the Miller Lite Dodge faded over the final 100 laps of the event.

Keselowski started the 400-lap event from the 16th position based on his qualifying lap of 22.880 seconds, or 157.343 miles per hour, around the one-mile oval during the Saturday morning qualifying session. The race began with a multi-car incident on lap nine that red-flagged the event for several minutes as the cleanup crew made sure the surface was suited to return to green-flag racing. Under this caution period, crew chief Paul Wolfe brought Keselowski down pit road for wedge and air pressure adjustments to alleviate a loose-handling condition the car. Keselowski restarted the race from the 18th position at lap 13.

When the race resumed, Keselowski quickly moved to the middle line around the DIS oval to find more speed. He was able to race his way inside the top 15 prior to a green-flag pit stop at lap 71, as Wolfe prescribed a track bar adjustment. Following the service, Keselowski found a much-improved Miller Lite Dodge. He radioed that his car was excellent on corner entry and exit as he began turning lap times as fast as the race leader.

The No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge was one of the fastest cars on the track late in a run as the race moved toward the halfway point. As Keselowski altered his driving style to fit his car’s handling condition, he began to make his move toward the top 10. The Penske Racing driver made his way up to the eighth position despite a car that had lost all rear grip on corner exit. Wolfe elected to “short-pit” the No. 2 car at lap 291 for an air pressure adjustment to combat a racetrack that became slick as the sun began to beat down. Great work by the Miller Lite crew placed Keselowski fifth in the running order as the pit stops cycled through at lap 299.

While the air pressure adjustment was not enough to tighten the car’s handling, Keselowski was able to maintain his position in the top 10 until a yellow flag waved at lap 340. Following track bar and air pressure adjustments, the Miller Lite Dodge stalled as Keselowski was leaving his pit box. As a result, he restarted the race from the 15th position at lap 345.

As the race resumed, Keselowski radioed that the car had gained rear grip, but it did not display the late-run speed from earlier in the race. Unfortunately, Keselowski was not able to hold off the charges of several competitors as he lost a potential top-10 finish over the waning laps. He crossed the finish line in the 12th position.

Penske Racing teammate, AJ Allmendinger, finished 16th in Sunday’s FedEx 400.

Following Sunday’s finish, Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge team are ranked 11th in the driver and owner point standings.

“We were anywhere from a 10th to 15th-place car today,” said Keselowski. “We made good adjustments all day on the Miller Lite Dodge and had solid pit stops to run a little better than that. We were just kind of stuck. We didn’t make the car worse and we didn’t make it better. The guys on the Miller Lite Dodge did a good job executing to get us a solid finish. It was really all we had today.”
Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge team will next race at Pocono Raceway on Sunday, June 10, in the Pocono 400. Coverage will be seen live beginning at 12:00 pm EST on TNT. The race will also be heard on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 90.