KESELOWSKI NINTH AT RICHMOND, CLIMBS TWO SPOT IN STANDINGS
RICHMOND, Va. (Saturday, April 28, 2012) – To the casual observer, Brad Keselowski’s ninth-place finish in the Capital City 400 Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway might not raise an eyebrow. But the driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger and crew chief Paul Wolfe both agree that finishes like Richmond are critical to a team hoping to make the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Keselowski struggled during the middle stages of the 400-lap, 300-mile event but rallied late to claim his fourth top 10 of the season and climb up two spots in the series championship standings. He is 13th, 26 points behind 10th-place Ryan Newman.
“We need to bank top 10s to make sure that we’re in the top 10 in points,” Keselowski said. “We had a pretty decent car tonight. I don’t think we were the fastest, but we had a decent Dodge. We just needed a little bit more.”
Wolfe said that the team has been doing a great job this season of turning what could have been poor finishes into decent ones.
“That’s what we need to do to continue to gain points right now and put ourselves in position to get into the Chase,” Wolfe said. “We were really good the first run of the race, moving forward. The second run, we adjusted on it and it wasn’t very good. We were trying some things there through the middle part and just weren’t really able to make anything happen. We kind of went back on some stuff and gave it our best shot. In the end, it seemed to somewhat recover.”
A.J. Allmendinger said his No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge was lightning fast on the short run but on longer runs, it was a handful. Although he ran inside the top 10 for much of the night, Allmendinger had his hands full during the closing stages of the race. He slipped out of the top 10 with 30 laps to go and went a lap down 19 laps from the checkered flag. He finished 16th and slipped to 21st in the series standings.
“The car was like a light switch – it was great, then immediately got bad,” Allmendinger said. “We couldn't keep from grinding the front tires. It was so bad on one of the early runs, we pitted early because it felt like I had a front tire going down. We couldn’t seem to adjust for it. I tried driving differently and nothing seemed to work. Then that second to last run was long and the tires went away 35 laps into it. So after running in the top 10 all day, we didn’t have a yellow fall when we needed it.”