Keselowski Finishes 3rd at Darlington Raceway

May 12, 2012

DARLINGTON, S.C. (May 11, 2012) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 22 Snap-on Dodge Challenger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS), finished third in the VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 at Darlington Raceway on Friday night. The finish, while marking his best series finish at the “Lady in Black, is Keselowski’s fifth top-five finish of the season.

Keselowski began the 147-lap race from the 13th position after posting a lap of 28.974 seconds, or 169.725 miles per hour, during the Friday morning time trials. The race began with a quick caution period at lap two, which kept Keselowski from getting a true reading on the handling condition of his Snap-on Dodge. As the race resumed at lap nine, Keselowski was able to quickly work his way toward the top 10, despite a tight-handling condition on entry and exit of turns 1 and 2. Another caution flag at lap 26 gave crew chief Jeremy Bullins an opportunity to make adjustments to the air pressure and track bar of the Snap-on machine. Keselowski restarted the race from the eighth position at lap 42.

The 2010 series champion began patiently working his way through traffic, while also turning some of the fastest laps in the field. Keselowski entered the top five at lap 66, and would remain there for much of the race. He radioed to Bullins that the handling was much-improved on corner entry, so the crew chief elected to make only a slight air pressure adjustment as Keselowski visited pit road, under the green flag, at lap 91.

As the race moved into the final 50 laps, Keselowski noted that he was now dealing with a loose-handling condition, which forced him to excessively use his right rear tire. This resulted in the loss of two spots as he fell back to seventh before the third caution of the day at lap 127. More air pressure adjustments by Bullins had a positive impact on the vehicle’s handling and Keselowski quickly made his way back inside the top five.

A late-race caution at lap 143, which was a result of the race leaders tangling on the restart immediately in front of the No. 22 Snap-on Dodge, sent the race into a green-white-checkered, overtime period. Keselowski restarted the race in the third position at lap 150, and he crossed the finish line in the same position two laps later.

Penske Racing teammate, Sam Hornish Jr, finished fourth in the VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 on Friday night.

Following Friday night’s result, Keselowski and the No. 22 team are now ranked eighth in the NNS owner point standings.

“Well, you know this is a short race here at Darlington so you know at the end you’ve got to really fight hard,” said Keselowski. “You don’t have a lot of laps to get it done earlier than that. I'm proud of our effort with the Snap-on Dodge to get a solid finish out of it. We want to win these races so we’re going to keep pushing but this is still my best Nationwide Series finish at Darlington and that’s progress and I’m thankful for the hard work of everybody on my team.”

The No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge team will next compete at Iowa Speedway on Sunday, May 20, with driver Parker Kligerman, in the Pioneer Hi-Bred 250. Coverage will air live beginning at 1:30 pm EST on ESPN. The race will also be broadcast on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 90.