Watkins Glen: Brad Keselowski race report

Keselowski Finishes 20th in First Cup Series Start at Watkins Glen International WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (August 8, 2010) -- Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 12 Penske Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Cup Series, finished 20th in the Heluva Good! Sour...

Keselowski Finishes 20th in First Cup Series Start at Watkins Glen International

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (August 8, 2010) -- Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 12 Penske Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Cup Series, finished 20th in the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen at Watkins Glen International (WGI) on Sunday afternoon. The No. 12 team made a furious rally over the final laps of the race as Keselowski earned a top-20 finish in his first career Cup Series start at the famous road circuit.

After qualifying his No. 12 Penske Dodge in the 32nd position on Saturday morning, Keselowski had to begin the race from the back of the 43-car field when the No. 12 team had to replace engines following problems in Friday's practice session.

In an effort to help his driver regain that track position, crew chief Jay Guy developed a plan of "short pitting" in hopes that a fuel mileage race would play into the hands of the Penske Dodge team. In the early portions of the race, Keselowski, who finished fourth in the Nationwide Series race at the Glen on Saturday, was having trouble in both the right-hand and left-hand turns around the 2.45-mile, seven-turn course. When Keselowski made his first pit stop on lap 22 while running in the 34th position, Guy called for air pressure adjustments on all four of the new Goodyear radials.

The strategy began to pay off as Keselowski found himself running in the 27th position when the race resumed on lap 31, following a caution period. The car was more to his liking following the first round of adjustments, but Keselowski was still not comfortable through the "carousel," or turn 5. On lap 41, Keselowski spun the No. 12 Dodge on the exit of Turn 5 to bring out the second caution period of the day. The car suffered minimal damage to the nose as a result of the incident. After several trips down pit road for repairs -- as well as air pressure and spring rubber adjustments -- Keselowski restarted the race once again in the 34th position on lap 46.

By the 51st lap of the race, Keselowski had raced back into the 27th position. Guy called Keselowski down pit road for what he thought would be the final time on lap 57. However, when a caution flag flew on lap 62, both driver and crew chief felt they should pit for four new tires and a round of adjustments as Keselowski felt the car could still be better in Turn 5. This proved to be the right call as Keselowski picked up a total of 13 positions on the difficult-to-pass road course following his final pit stop. He was able to make his final pass while coming to the checkered flag to give the team a confidence-boosting 20th-place finish.

Keselowski and the No. 12 Penske Dodge Charger team remained 25th in the driver point standings and owner point standings following Sunday's result.

"I made some mistakes early in the race, but worked hard the rest of the race," said Keselowski. "We really ran strong the last 15 laps, passed a lot of cars and had fun. (Crew chief) Jay (Guy) and the guys made great adjustments. We just needed a little bit more. For my first Cup race here, I would say we did OK."

Penske Racing teammates Kurt Busch and Sam Hornish Jr. finished in second and 14th place, respectively.

The No. 12 Penske Dodge team will move to Michigan International Speedway for the second time this season next weekend.

-source: penske racing

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