Top-Three Finish for Keselowski at Bristol

March 17, 2012

BRISTOL, Tenn. (March 17, 2012) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS), finished third in the Ford EcoBoost 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) on Saturday afternoon. The result marks the third top-three finish for Keselowski in the first four races of the young 2012 season. 

Keselowski began the 300-lap race from the seventh position after posting a lap of 15.630 seconds, or 122.764 miles per hour, during the Saturday morning qualifying session. The Discount Tire Dodge needed a few laps to get going and, as a result, Keselowski lost two positions at the drop of the green flag. He radioed to crew chief Jeremy Bullins that he developed a tight-handling condition on the entry of the BMS corners, but loose under throttle. As the run progressed the handling condition improved and Keselowski began turning some of the fastest laps on the track.

As his forward bite improved, Keselowski radioed to Bullins that he would sacrifice some of it to be able to turn better in the center of the corners. A lap 105 caution period gave the duo an opportunity to work on their car and Bullins called for air pressure and track bar adjustments to help his driver. Keselowski, who came down pit road in the seventh position, restarted in the same spot at lap 113.

After settling into a nice rhythm following the restart, Keselowski drove his way into the top five at lap 130. He would remain there until a lap 156 caution brought him down pit road for the second time. A spring rubber was added to the left rear spring and the air pressure was of the Goodyear radials was adjusted. Quick work by the Discount Tire crew saw Keselowski lose only one spot on pit road, mostly to several cars that elected to take only two tires.

At lap 185, Keselowski made his way into the top three and began to reel in the race leaders. He would make his way to his way to a race high second place before the final caution flag of the day flew at lap 263. A two-tire stop ensured Keselowski would restart at the front of the field, helping him to a third-place finish.

Penske Racing teammate, Sam Hornish Jr., finished 13th in the Ford EcoBoost 300 on Saturday afternoon.

Following Saturday’s result, Keselowski and the No. 22 team are ranked fifth in the NNS owner point standings.

“We had a good effort – needed a little more – but I’m happy for those guys on the Discount tire team,” said Keselowski. “We’ve been working hard. This is a new crew chief for the 22 car and we have had some solid runs all four weeks this year and we are very happy about that. I just want to get one or two spots better in every one of these races but we’re right there. We keep running like this we’ll get a lot of wins and the best part is my Cup car is awesome and I’m really looking forward to Bristol tomorrow so that’s going to be good.”

Keselowski and the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge team will move to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. next Saturday, March 24, for the Royal Purple 300. Coverage will air live beginning at 5:00 pm EST on ESPN. The race will also be broadcast on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 90.