Keselowski, No. 9 Team ASE Toyota Finish 16th at Memphis Motorsports Park Memphis, TN (July 2, 2007) With 2005 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Ted Musgrave on the sidelines this week, Germain Racing gave Brad Keselowski the call to pilot...
Keselowski, No. 9 Team ASE Toyota Finish 16th at Memphis Motorsports Park Memphis, TN
(July 2, 2007) With 2005 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Ted Musgrave on the sidelines this week, Germain Racing gave Brad Keselowski the call to pilot the team's No. 9 Team ASE Toyota in the O'Reilly 200 at Memphis Motorsports Park. Keselowski proved up to the task as he was quick during Friday's practice sessions and then gave the team its first Bud Pole Award during qualifying. Keselowski led the first 19 laps and hovered among the top five before retaking the lead on lap 148 and dominating the final stages of the race.
The near-capacity crowd at Memphis was on their feet as Keselowski and 2003 series champion Travis Kvapil ran nose to tail over the final 30 laps. Kvapil was able to make a move and lead at the line on lap 171 but Keselowski made a great cross-under move to get back underneath Kvapil and retake the lead on lap 172. Keselowski continued to lead, but never had an advantage larger than three truck lengths over the next 19 laps. As the two front runners came to complete lap 192, the storybook ending went up in a cloud of smoke. Contact from behind sent Keselowski spinning through turn four and left Kvapil in the lead. He would go on to win the race, while Keselowski was forced to settle for a disappointing 16th-place finish.
"I don't know how hard he hit me, but it was just enough to get me turned around," a dejected Keselowski said. "I used up everything I had catching him. If I saved it, I wasn't catching him. I had to go one hundred percent. I caught a little break in traffic to get by him. We got into more traffic and we couldn't get around a couple of lapped trucks and I used up my rear tires a little too much. Eventually it slowed me down to the point where it got me run over from behind."
"I don't know how to feel about what happened," Keselowski continued. "I don't know if angry or mad is the right word. As disappointed as I am, this is certainly the best run I've ever had. There comes a point when that's all I care about. You always want to run well, lead laps and have a chance to win the race. We did that tonight. And we earned every bit of it, and that's really cool. The guys made perfect adjustments and that made the truck really take off."
Keselowski, a 24-year-old native of Rochester Hills, Mich., was thankful for the opportunity even though it came in less than ideal circumstances. "I just have to thank the Germain family and the Hillman family for the opportunity to come drive this truck tonight," Keselowski said.
"Hopefully I'll get an opportunity to come race with them some more. We had a strong truck all night long, but it just didn't end the way we wanted it to."
Overall, Keselowski led four times on the night for a total of 62 laps.