Keselowski Finishes Third in Nationwide Race at Nashville

April 24, 2011

LEBANON, Tenn. (April 23, 2011) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS), finished third in the Aaron's 300 at Nashville Superspeedway (NSS) on Saturday afternoon. The finish represented Keselowski's third-consecutive top-five NNS result and seventh straight series top-five at Nashville.
Keselowski, a two-time NSS winner, started the 225-lap race from the ninth position after posting a lap of 30.676 seconds, or 156.435 miles per hour, during the Saturday morning qualifying session. As the race began, Keselowski wasted little time in showing the field that he had a car that was very fast at the start of a run. However, the first few laps were not without drama. On the fifth lap, Keselowski narrowly missed hitting the No. 64 car of David Reutimann as he lost control of his car coming off of Turn 2. Once he collected himself, Keselowski radioed to crew chief Todd Gordon that he was happy with the handling of the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge. As the laps wound down in the first run, however, the handling slowly deteriorated. A lap 50 caution flag gave Gordon the opportunity to bring his driver down pit road for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Great work by the No. 22 pit crew allowed Keselowski to pick up two spots on pit road and he restarted the race in the fifth position on lap 55.
Despite a car that was loose and lacking overall grip, Keselowski was able to race his way into the third position after taking the green flag. He was able to conserve his right rear tire while still maintaining his position inside the top-five cars before coming down pit road for service, which included air pressure and track bar adjustments, under the green flag on lap 115. Another fast pit stop resulted in Keselowski holding down the third spot in the running order as the green-flag stops cycled through on lap 120.
The Discount Tire machine responded well to the adjustments and by lap 129, Keselowski was turning the fastest laps on the track. As the race moved into the second half, Keselowski firmly held on to his position in the top-five. A caution flag at lap 169 gave Gordon and Keselowski an opportunity to implement a pre-race strategy of taking only two tires to gain track position. It worked as Keselowski restarted the race from the second position on lap 174. He briefly took the race lead for one lap, but could not hold down the top spot. Keselowski engaged in some intense side-by-side racing with the No. 18 car driven Kyle Busch over the final lap in an effort to try and win his third Gibson guitar trophy as the Nashville champion. However, Keselowski was unable to keep Busch, and eventual race winner Carl Edwards at bay. He crossed the finish line in the third position for his seventh consecutive top-five finish at NSS.
Following Friday's result, Keselowski and the Discount Tire Dodge Challenger team sit ninth in the Nationwide Series owner point standings.
"We'll keep working on our No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge team," said Keselowski. "We've made our cars better; we just need to find more speed. We'll get there and give them a run for their money. We ran a strong race. The guys did a great job on pit road. We just need to find speed in all areas. We're getting closer."
Keselowski and the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge team will visit Richmond International Raceway on Friday, April 29, for the Bubba Burger 250. Live coverage will begin at 7:30 pm EST on SPEED Channel. The race will also be heard on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 128.