Keselowski Persevers to Finish 14th at Richmond RICHMOND Va. (May 1, 2010) -- Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 12 Penske Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Cup Series, finished 14th in the Crown Royal presents the Heath Calhoun 400 at Richmond ...
Keselowski Persevers to Finish 14th at Richmond
RICHMOND Va. (May 1, 2010) -- Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 12 Penske Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Cup Series, finished 14th in the Crown Royal presents the Heath Calhoun 400 at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday night. A gutsy pit call by crew chief Jay Guy, along with determined driving from Keselowski, helped the team rally from running a lap down to the leaders and preserve the solid finish.
After producing a Nationwide Series win on Friday night at Richmond, Keselowski started the Cup Series race from the sixth position, his best starting spot of the season. He toured the .75-mile oval in 21.388 seconds, or 126.239 miles per hour, during the Friday time trials. That time marked a pickup of six-tenths of a second from his final practice time.
As the race began, Keselowski radioed to Guy that he was having trouble getting the car to turn in the center of the corners. However, he was able to stay inside the top-10 until the first caution flag flew on lap 43. After bringing his car down pit road for service, which included air pressure adjustments, Keselowski restarted the race from the eighth position. Green-flag racing continued for the next 103 laps, during which time the ill-handling condition of the No. 12 Penske Dodge did not improve. As the leaders set a torrid pace, Keselowski fell a lap down in the running order.
When the second caution flag of the race flew on lap 153, only eight cars remained on the lead lap. Guy elected to keep Keselowski on the track to receive the "wave around," which placed him back on the lead lap. Keselowski restarted the race in the 16th position.
At the mid-point of the 400-lap race, Keselowski began having issues with forward bite on the No. 12 machine coming out of the corners of the Richmond oval. Keselowski started moving his racing line around to determine where his car worked the best. While his lap times improved, Keselowski once again found himself a lap down to the leaders on lap 263 as the race advanced into another long green-flag run. To give his driver a shot at a solid finish, Guy made what would prove to be the call of the race for the No. 12 team.
As the lead-lap cars began to make their way down pit road for service with less than 100 laps to go, Guy kept Keselowski on the racing surface to pick up valuable track position. Keselowski would finally make his was to his pit stall on lap 354. When he returned to the track, the No. 12 Dodge remained one lap down. Keselowski was able to race his way into position to receive the "Lucky Dog" award thanks to his fresh Goodyear tires. He was rewarded with the free pass back to lead-lap racing when another caution flag flew on lap 367. Strong driving over the final 33 laps gave Keselowski his fourth top-15 finish of the season.
"This was a total team effort by everyone on the No. 12 Penske Dodge Charger," said Keselowski. "Jay made a great call at the end of the race to get us back on the lead lap. Our pit stops were strong all night. It wasn't the prettiest way to get a top-15 finish, but you have to be able to grind out finishes when your car is not where you want it. We did that tonight."
Penske Racing teammates Kurt Busch and Sam Hornish Jr. finished 18th and 36th, respectively.
Following the 10th race of the season, Keselowski is currently 26th in the 2010 NASCAR Cup Series driver point standings.
The No.12 Penske Dodge team will move to the Palmetto State of South Carolina for the Showtime Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway next weekend.