Keselowski Finishes Third in Wild Nationwide Series Race

February 20, 2010

FONTANA, Calif. (February 20, 2010) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the Penske Racing No. 22 America’s Tire Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, finished third in the Stater Bros. 300 at Auto Club Speedway on Saturday afternoon. Keselowski made a powerful move to the inside of the leaders on the final lap of a green/white/checkered flag finish, but didn’t have enough grip to make the move stick and wisely backed off to preserve a good finish for the new team.

Penske Racing teammates Justin Allgaier and Parker Kligerman finished eighth and 22nd, respectively.  

Keselowski had a fast Dodge Charger from the moment that the crew pushed it off the hauler. He placed in the top-10 fastest cars in the final practice session on Friday and radioed to crew chief Paul Wolfe that it was near perfect. Weather, however, threw many teams a curve ball during qualifying on Saturday morning. Forecast as cloudy with a chance for rain, the sun poked through the clouds and heated up the racetrack as teams made their qualifying attempts. As a result, Keselowski qualified 13th as he was too tight during his run.

As the race began, Keselowski quickly made his way into the top 10 by lap five. His America’s Tire Dodge Charger was very fast, but it was loose in the middle of both corners of the two-mile oval. It was a condition that would get worse the longer he ran. By the time the first caution flag fell on lap 32, Keselowski had fallen to 15th place in the running order. This gave Wolfe the opportunity to tune on the car so that Keselowski could charge back to the front. 

Keselowski remained squarely inside the top 10 after the lap 37 restart -- eventually leading lap 79 to gain five valuable points -- before another caution period on lap 80. The track bar and air pressure adjustments called by Wolfe on this pit stop brought the car to life. Keselowski was one of the fastest cars on the track for the rest of the event.  He climbed into the top three for the first time on lap 116. The excitement, however, had only just begun.

After nearly running through his pit stall under the last caution of the day, Keselowski was forced to restart the event from the ninth position on lap 124. He maneuvered back inside the top five with seven laps to go. Another caution with six laps remaining set up the exciting finish that has become normal at Auto Club Speedway. The result was the tenth-closest finish in the 29-year history of the Nationwide Series with Keselowski finishing third overall.    

Following the first two race of the season, Keselowski is ranked fifth in the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series driver points standings.

“Our America’s Tire Dodge Charger was pretty good,” said Keselowski. “We were terrible at the start, but at the end, we really seemed to come on strong and I felt like we were as good as Greg (Biffle) and the two Gibb’s cars. I had the opportunity to go in there on the last lap and clear them all out and win the race, but I needed to think of the bigger picture and bring home a good finish for Roger (Penske, team owner) and a brand new team. This is a good start to our relationship. I'm excited to see how we're going to grow together. I think we're just going to keep on getting better."        

The No. 22 America’s Tire Dodge Charger team will stay on the west coast for the Sam’s Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The race can be seen live on Saturday afternoon, February 27 on ESPN2 beginning at 4 p.m. ET.  The event can also be heard live on PRN Radio, as well as Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 128.


Brad Keselowski Stater Bros. 300 Race Statistics
Start: 13
Finish: 3
Laps: 152/152
Laps Led: 1
Status: Running
Fastest Pit Stop: 14.07 seconds