New Hampshire International Speedway
Blown Tire Leads to 35th-Place Finish for Keselowski at New Hampshire
Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS), finished 35th in the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday afternoon. A blown right front tire on lap 144 resulted in heavy contact with the outside wall and forced the No. 2 car behind the wall for repairs as Keselowski eventually returned to the track and finished 44 laps down to the race leaders.
Keselowski began the 301-lap event from the fifth position after posting a lap of 28.392 seconds, or 134.150 miles per hour, during Friday’s qualifying session. When the race began, Keselowski was able to keep the Miller Lite machine inside the top-five despite having a car that was handling tight in the center of the corners. After he radioed to crew chief Paul Wolfe that his car was building tighter, Keselowski made a fuel-only stop with a track bar adjustment under a lap 30 caution period to maintain track position. Keselowski restarted the race in the fourth position on lap 35.
Upon returning to the track, Keselowski was still dealing with a Miller Lite Dodge that was tight in the center of the corners. This was exacerbated by the fact that the car did not have fresh Goodyear radials. The result was Keselowski losing several positions as he tried to find a way to improve his car’s performance in the turns. A caution flag at lap 60 gave him an opportunity to visit pit road for adjustments that would alleviate the problem. However, more track bar and air pressure adjustments did not have the desired effect on the chassis and Keselowski continued to fight with the handling as the race moved toward the halfway point.
On lap 144, after doing his best to take care of the right front tire despite the tight-handling condition, Keselowski suffered a cut to the tire and he made contact with the outside wall upon entry into Turn 3. The damage to the car was severe enough to send him to the garage for repairs. Keselowski returned to the track at lap 188, 43 laps down to the race leaders in the 36th position. He wound up finishing 35th on the day for his first result outside the top 25 in the last 11 races.
Penske Racing teammate, Kurt Busch, finished 10th in Sunday’s Lenox Industrial Tools 301.
Following Sunday’s result, Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge team are ranked 23rd in the Cup Series driver and owner point standings.
“The Miller Lite Dodge was really, really tight and we didn’t have a lot of speed today,” said Keselowski. “I was running as hard as I could to keep from going a lap down – the 24 (car) was coming so fast. I didn’t want to go a lap down, was doing all I could and blew a right front tire. I was pushing a little too hard, but that’s what you’ve got to do. You have to stay in front and try to save (your) day. It wasn’t meant to be and we ended up blowing a tire, probably from brake heat. That’s the way it goes.”
By: penske racing