Fontana: Brad Keselowski race report

Keselowski Finishes 21st Following Late Race Spin FONTANA, Calif. (February 21, 2010) -- Brad Keselowski, driver of the Penske Racing No. 12 AAA Insurance Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Cup Series, finished 21st in the Auto Club 500 at Auto Club...

Keselowski Finishes 21st Following Late Race Spin

FONTANA, Calif. (February 21, 2010) -- Brad Keselowski, driver of the Penske Racing No. 12 AAA Insurance Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Cup Series, finished 21st in the Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday. A late-race spin on lap 223 prevented the third-year driver from challenging for a top-15 finish.

Penske Racing teammates Kurt Busch and Sam Hornish, Jr. finished the race in sixth and 16th place, respectively.

With rain clouds threatening the area, Sunday's race began with doubt as to whether all 250 laps would be completed. Despite the forecast, the race would only be stopped once, on lap 192, for inclement weather. However, teams were forced to deal with changing track conditions as the sky alternately went from sunny to cloudy throughout the day

From the drop of the green flag, Keselowski was forced to deal with a loose-handling condition on the No. 12 Dodge. This would be the case for most of the race. After searching around for the racing line that would best suit his Dodge Charger, Keselowski began working the "high" line around the track. The initial caution period on lap 38 allowed crew chief Jay Guy to begin working on the handling condition. The car responded to the first round of adjustments as Keselowski was running lap times comparable to the race leaders by lap 50. He would remain inside the top-20 cars through the midway point of the race.

As the AAA Insurance car remained loose, Guy began to get more aggressive with the changes to the chassis. Under a lap 139 caution period, Keselowski brought his car down pit road for track bar, wedge, spring rubber and air pressure adjustments. The result was a better car, but the team could not tighten up the No. 12's handling enough for Keselowski to run his preferred line.

Light rain began to fall around lap 179 as teams were preparing for green flag pit stops. Guy kept Keselowski on the track as long as possible in the event that the yellow would fall and the race would be cut short, giving Keselowski a potential top-five finish. Unfortunately, this strategy didn't pay off and Keselowski had to come down pit road for tires and fuel. As a result, Keselowski lost a lap to the leaders, but he was able to receive the free pass back to lead-lap racing when the caution flag finally flew for rain on lap 192.

After restarting in the 19th position, Keselowski quickly drove up to the 11th spot in the running order on lap 214 and it looked like he would make his way into the top-10. However, he radioed to Guy that his right rear tire was worn out and several laps later he spun his Dodge while coming off Turn 4 on lap 223. As he worked to get his car to pit road, the left rear tire came apart and took with it the quarter panel. The No. 12 crew worked through several pit stops to make enough repairs for Keselowski to finish the race. In fact, he picked up four positions in the closing laps before taking the checkered flag.

Following the first two races of the season, Keselowski is ranked 28th in the 2010 NASCAR Cup Series driver points standings.

"We made a ton of progress this week," said Keselowski. "Certainly, I've got a lot to learn, but at least we got out with a decent finish and our car is in not too bad of shape. I think that was important for us to run all the laps and come out with a good finish. We did that. We just caught a tough break when the tire cut down and cost us some spots. We'll learn from it and move on to Vegas next week."

The No. 22 Penske Dodge Charger team will stay on the West Coast this week for the Shelby American at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

-source: penske racing

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