Keselowski Scores 3rd Win of Season at Kentucky

July 1, 2012

SPARTA, Ky.  (June 30, 2012) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the Penske Racing No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS), picked up his third win of 2012 – and his seventh career victory – in the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday night. The finish puts an exclamation point on a triple-duty weekend that saw the driver finish second in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Thursday night and seventh in the NASCAR Nationwide Series event on Friday evening.

Keselowski started the scheduled 267-lap event from the eighth position based on his qualifying lap of 29.966 seconds, or 180.204 miles per hour, around the 1.5-mile oval during the Friday afternoon qualifying session. As the race began, Keselowski was confident he had a car that could contend for the victory as he radioed to crew chief Paul Wolfe that his car was simply, “awesome.” He moved into the top five by the fourth lap by running lap times three tenths of a second faster than the field. He assumed the lead at lap 35 and proceeded to lead the next ten laps before visiting pit road under the first yellow flag of the evening at lap 44. The Miller Lite crew applied four tires and fuel, but Keselowski was beaten off pit road by three competitors and restarted the race from the fourth position at lap 48.

After quickly racing back up to the second position, Keselowski radioed that his car needed help turning in the center of the corners, especially in “dirty” air. When he came to pit road at lap 96, under the green flag, Wolfe called for an air pressure adjustment to go along with four tires and fuel. After the pit stops cycled, Keselowski was still scored in the second position.

As the race moved past the halfway point, Keselowski continued to struggle with turning in the center of the corners. Wolfe began adjusting the rear track bar to give his driver the feel he was looking for to get back to the point. Keselowski, driving a backup car after a wreck early in the first practice session, continued to give his team 100 percent as he kept his Miller Lite Dodge near the front of the field.

During the fourth run of the evening, Wolfe instructed his driver to save fuel, in an attempt to put themselves in position to make it to the end of the race on one more stop. Keselowski, well known as one of the best at saving fuel, did his part and was able to stretch his penultimate tank to lap 208 before visiting pit road under the green flag. By doing so, he became the only driver that could make it to the checkered flag without needing fuel. He found himself in the fourth position when the pit stop cycle completed. However, a caution flag flew at lap 210, forcing those that could not make it to pit, giving Keselowski the lead at lap 212.

When the race resumed at lap 220, Keselowski immediately set out on a tear. By lap 233, he had built a commanding 3.3 second lead before Wolfe backed him down in an effort to save the tires for a possible restart if a caution came out. That caution never came and Keselowski cruised to a 4.399 second lead, his sixth victory in two seasons as the pilot of the famed “Blue Deuce.”

Penske Racing teammate, AJ Allmendinger, finished ninth in Saturday night’s Quaker State 400.

Following Saturday’s finish, Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge team remain 10th in the Cup Series driver and owner point standings.

“I wanted all three but sometimes that ain’t meant to happen,” said Keselowski. “ I am proud of the effort we put in all week long in the heat with all three teams, Truck series team, Nationwide team.  A second, seventh and a first is not bad at all. Who’d have figured my best finish would have come in the hardest race but that just shows the importance of teamwork and the group of guys that I have on this Miller Lite Dodge. They’ve put together a backup car from last year in the hundred degree heat in an hour’s time. Not even an hour; I think it was like 40 minutes. I wish I had a stopwatch for that. Got it on the racetrack, and got to run our laps in practice to make the adjustments we needed to be fast today, and that’s what (good teams) do. And that’s what got us to victory lane today and I’m proud of these guys for it, damn proud of ‘em. I think that sums it up.”

Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge team will next race at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, July 7, in the Coke Zero 400. Coverage will be seen live beginning at 6:30 pm EST on TNT. The race will also be heard on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 90.