Tire Issues Result in 34th-Place Finish for Keselowski at Phoenix International Raceway

February 27, 2011

AVONDALE, Ariz. (February 26, 2011) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, finished 34th in the Bashas' Supermarkets 200 at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) on Saturday afternoon. A flat tire on lap 106 sent Keselowski and the No. 22 Dodge into the outside wall while coming off of Turn 4. The resulting damage was too severe for the reigning Nationwide Series champion to continue.
Keselowski started the race from the fourth position after posting a lap of 27.143 seconds, or 132.631 miles per hour, during Saturday morning's qualifying session. As the race began, Keselowski attempted to settle into the top-five and let the race come to him. However, on lap two, Keselowski was forced into the outside wall while battling another competitor off of Turn 2. Fortunately, the damage to the Discount Tire Dodge was minimal and Keselowski was able to make the pass and continue.
As the first 53 laps of the race were completed under the green flag, Keselowski radioed to crew chief Todd Gordon that his car was slightly loose all around the PIR oval. When the caution flag flew on lap 54, Keselowski brought his No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge down pit road for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment. Upon examination of the tires that were removed, it was noted that the right front tire was significantly worn.
Keselowski restarted the race from the fifth position on lap 59 and he quickly settled back in to a nice rhythm as he set his sights on the leader. He kept his position inside the top-five as the race moved past the halfway point. However, without much warning, the right front tire let go on lap 106 and the car made hard contact with the wall. After the incident, Keselowski took the mandatory trip to the infield care center where he was evaluated and released.
Following Saturday's result, Keselowski and the Discount Tire Dodge Challenger team sit 38th in the Nationwide Series owner point standings.
"Just a tough break for this Discount Tire Dodge," said Keselowski "I'm not sure exactly what happened. All that I know is that we blew a right-front tire and I ended up throwing the car into the Turn 4 wall. Our team never saw this tire until we got to the track this weekend. It's a combination of the new tire and the new car and that was the recipe for disaster."
Keselowski and the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge team will move to Las Vegas Motor Speedway next Saturday, March 5, for the Sam's Town 300. Coverage can be seen live beginning at 3:00 pm EST on the ABC network. The race can also be heard on the Performance Racing Network and Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 128.