Keselowski Finishes 18th at Dover International Speedway DOVER, Del. (May 16, 2010) -- Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 12 Penske Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Cup Series, finished 18th in the Autism Speaks 400 presented by HERSHEYÂ®S Milk and...
Keselowski Finishes 18th at Dover International Speedway
DOVER, Del. (May 16, 2010) -- Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 12 Penske Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Cup Series, finished 18th in the Autism Speaks 400 presented by HERSHEY®S Milk and Milkshakes Sunday at Dover International Speedway. Keselowski had a fast car at the end of the event, but he was not able to get the breaks he needed to secure a top-15 finish for the fourth time in five races.
While this was Keselowski's first Cup Series start on the "Monster Mile," he considers it one of his best tracks. He owns one Nationwide Series victory on the concrete surface and was looking for another strong result in the No. 12 Penske Dodge Charger.
Keselowski qualified the Penske Dodge in the 20th position during Friday's session. He toured the one-mile oval in 23.096 seconds or 155.871 miles per hour.
As the race began, Keselowski was happy with the handling condition of his car, citing only that he needed to be able to turn better in the center of the corners. Through the first 50 laps, he was posting times among the fastest on the track. When the first caution flag flew on lap 52, crew chief Jay Guy called Keselowski down pit road for a track bar adjustment to loosen up the chassis. Great pit work by the No. 12 crew, which proved to be a constant throughout the race, saw Keselowski pick up a spot on pit road. He restarted the race from the 23rd position on lap 57.
Following the restart, the race settled into a long green-flag run, during which Keselowski radioed that he could still use more help with the car in the center of the corners. Despite running inside the top-20, Keselowski would lose a lap to the leaders as he made a green-flag pit stop on lap 133. As the laps accumulated, the concrete surface of Dover began to buildup an unusually large amount of tire rubber. With the sun beaming down on the oval, the surface became very inconsistent. As a result, Keselowski struggled with the handling of the chassis, adjusting from loose to tight after each pit stop. When the third caution flag of the day flew on lap 224, Guy made adjustments to the car's track bar, wedge and air pressure to give Keselowski the help he needed.
As the race moved past the 200-lap halfway point, Keselowski kept himself in position to receive the "Lucky Dog" free pass that would have placed him back on the lead lap. However, on a day when caution periods were rare, he was never fortunate enough to receive the free pass. He continued to run laps that were as fast as the race leaders. Known as one of the best "closers" in NASCAR, Keselowski ran his fastest lap of the race on lap 297.
The final pit stop of the race would occur under the green flag on lap 363. Keselowski returned to the track in the 18th position, but with the race leader directly behind him. Not having a car that could hold him off, Keselowski lost his second lap to leader and eventual race-winner Kyle Busch before crossing the finish line in the 18th position.
"Today was a decent day for us," said Keselowski. "We had a fast car at different points in the race, but we just couldn't make up any track position. The track had a lot of rubber buildup. If you got out of that groove it really changed the handling characteristics of your car. Knowing that we come back here in the fall, I think we gained some good data that we can build from and be faster the next time."
Penske Racing teammates Kurt Busch and Sam Hornish Jr. finished 19th and 34th, respectively, after both were involved in on-track incidents.
Following the 12th race of the season, Keselowski moved up one position and currently sits 24th in the 2010 NASCAR Cup Series driver point standings.
The No.12 Penske Dodge team will now move to the state of North Carolina for two weeks of racing action.