Chicagoland: Brad Keselowski race report

Keselowski Earns 18th--Place Finish at Chicagoland Speedway JOLIET, Ill. (July 10, 2010) -- Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 12 Penske Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Cup Series, finished 18th in the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on ...

Keselowski Earns 18th--Place Finish at Chicagoland Speedway

JOLIET, Ill. (July 10, 2010) -- Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 12 Penske Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Cup Series, finished 18th in the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday night. Keselowski put himself in position for a top-15 finish, but a late-race vibration affected the No. 12 car's performance at the end of the event.

Keselowski, making his second career NASCAR Cup Series start at Chicagoland, qualified the Penske Dodge Charger in the 30th position during Friday's time trials with a lap of 29.936 seconds, or 180.385 miles per hour, around the 1.5-mile oval. When the race began, Keselowski quickly went to work on the cars in front of him. By the 10th lap of the race, he was running in the 23rd position and posting lap times faster than the next 10 cars in the running order. A caution period on lap 38 gave crew chief Jay Guy an opportunity to fix a loose-handling condition that began to develop on the No. 12 machine. Solid pit work by the Penske Dodge pit crew placed Keselowski back in the 23rd position when the race restarted on lap 43.

On lap 46, Keselowski entered the top-20 for the first time by running some of the fastest lap times on the track. After adjusting his driving line to the top of the track, Keselowski radioed Guy to report that his car was still too loose. Guy called his driver down pit road for a green-flag pit stop on lap 91, as the team made air pressure and track bar adjustments. As the pit stops cycled through, Keselowski remained inside the top-20.

Over the next 38 laps, Keselowski remained in the 19th position. As the sun began to set over the speedway, the Penske Dodge began to develop a tight-handling condition. As the condition worsened, Guy developed a plan to compensate for the cooling track temperatures. A lap 129 caution flag gave the team a chance to apply the changes, plus make some additional adjustments to keep up with the changing track conditions.

As the race advanced to the second half, Keselowski was able to keep his car in the 19th position, but an inconsistent chassis kept him from making up any ground on the cars in front of him. By lap 169 he radioed that he was, once again, dealing with a loose-handling race car. Another round of adjustments under a lap 178 caution period alleviated the problem for a few laps, but it began to resurface the longer Keselowski ran. He was still able to drive up to the 16th position on lap 196 -- his highest spot in the running order for the night -- and looked to be in position to get a solid finish.

With 17 laps remaining in the race, the No. 12 Penske Dodge Charger began to develop a vibration that, initially, looked to be from a loose or unbalanced wheel. Keselowski did a great job in bringing the car home in one piece, but he lost a lap to the leaders late before crossing the finish line in the 18th position.

Keselowski is now 26th in the Cup Series point standings following Saturday's result.

"It was a decent night for our Penske Dodge," said Keselowski. "We were never able to get our car better than 15th all night long. We feel like we had a really good package for this place, we just needed to make it a little bit better. This is the best that we've run on a mile-and-a-half (track) in a while. I'm proud of (crew chief) Jay (Guy) and all the guys for hanging in there all night trying to tweak our car to make it faster."

Penske Racing teammates Sam Hornish Jr. and Kurt Busch finished in 24th and 26th place, respectively.

The No. 12 Penske Dodge team will enjoy a weekend off before heading to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Brickyard 400.

-source: penske racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Kurt Busch , Brad Keselowski , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Team Penske