Keselowski Finishes 4th in Pennsylvania 400

August 5, 2012

LONG POND, Pa.  (August 5, 2012) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the Penske Racing No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS), finished fourth in the Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway on Sunday afternoon. Keselowski and crew chief Paul Wolfe used excellent pit strategy to place the team at the front of the field – eventually leading a total of eight laps – before severe thunderstorms ended the race prematurely with 98 laps completed.

Keselowski qualified 31st for the scheduled 160-lap event with a time of 52.213 seconds, or 172.371 miles per hour, around the flat, 2.5-mile triangle during the Saturday morning qualifying session. Rain showers delayed the start of the race by approximately 90 minutes. Due to the delay, NASCAR mandated a competition caution at lap 20 to allow teams to check the tire wear on the “green” race track. Keselowski and Wolfe, however, elected to stay out under this caution in an effort to gain track position on the field. They succeeded as Keselowski restarted the race from the third position at lap 23.

As the race resumed, Keselowski began turning some fast lap times at the front of the field, despite a handling condition that was loose on entry into Turn 1 and tight in the center of Turns 1 and 2. With the “clean” air afforded by the new track position, Keselowski captured the race lead at lap 24. Staying out under the competition caution placed the Miller Lite team on its own pit strategy, which eventually forced Keselwski to pit under the green flag on lap 32 for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. Keselowski returned to the track in the 33rd position, but he quickly began to carve his way through the field with his fresh Goodyear radials.

When the leaders began to make their way down pit road for the second time of the day around lap 46, Keselowski began to work his way back to the front of the field. He held down the third position before pitting at lap 64 for four tires, fuel and track bar and air pressure adjustments. The Miller Lite machine returned to the track in 22nd place, proving that the strategy was beginning to pay dividends in the form of track position.

A caution flag at lap 86, with the threat of rain looming, brought about a team debate on whether to pit or to stay out on the race track. Wolfe left it up to Keselowski, who chose to stay on the racing surface and maintain the third-place position. As the race restarted at lap 91, Keselowski narrowly avoided a wreck involving the race leaders. The race, however, would never see the restart as the rain began to fall at lap 96 during the extensive cleanup process from the incident. NASCAR brought all the cars down pit road, under the red flag, at lap 98 before eventually deciding to cancel the remaining 62 laps. Keselowski was credited with fourth place prior to the final caution, which dictated the finishing order. 

Penske Racing teammate, Sam Hornish, Jr., finished 19th in Sunday’s Pennsylvania 400.

Following Sunday’s finish, Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge team improved two spots to seventh in the Cup Series driver and owner point standings.

“It was a solid run for the Miller Lite Dodge team,” said Keselowski. “Right now, where we’re at, wins are what matters (smiling). I thought we had a shot at it. That last restart just didn’t get it done but that’s part of the deal. Good action all day – just came up a little bit short.” 

Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge team will next race at Watkins Glen International on Sunday, August 12. Coverage will be seen live beginning at 12:00 pm EST on ESPN. The race will also be heard on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 90.