Pit Strategy, Hard Driving Catapults Keselowski to Berlin Win MARNE MI (7-7-07) -- Brian Keselowski, in the family-owned Holloway Motorsports-Dusty's Collision Dodge, charged back through the pack after gambling on a late-race pit stop...
Pit Strategy, Hard Driving Catapults Keselowski to Berlin Win
MARNE MI (7-7-07) -- Brian Keselowski, in the family-owned Holloway Motorsports-Dusty's Collision Dodge, charged back through the pack after gambling on a late-race pit stop to win the ARCA RE/MAX Series Request Foods-GFS 200 Saturday night at Berlin Raceway.
Keselowski, on fresher tires, passed Michael McDowell with 10 laps to go to earn his third career RE/MAX Series victory and second consecutive at Berlin.
"We came in to pit late in the race and got four fresh tires," said Keselowski. "And I thought 'Man, we just have to go for it.' And we did. We went three and four wide. We're a low budget team and we've been doing what we can do, just trying to race."
McDowell, after leading 91 of 200 laps, had a full straightaway lead on the field when the caution flag waved on lap 175. Keselowski and a slew of other front-runners came down pit road for four fresh tires while McDowell elected to stay out. Once the green flag waved on lap 182, Keselowski made some bold maneuvers, often going three-wide to race his way back to the front. In six laps, he caught McDowell, and two laps later, the eventual winner drove around McDowell on the high-side in turns one and two en route to the winner's circle.
Despite Keselowski being on fresher tires, another late-race caution bunched the field up again giving McDowell one final shot at the win when the race went green on the 199th lap. But it was not to be as Keselowski cruised under the checkered flag one length in front of McDowell, who settled for second.
"The Eddie Sharp Racing, Z Line Design-Make A Wish-Beck Dodge was really good today," said McDowell. "I got to thank my crew. We just got beat by tires. The 29 was able to put on four fresh tires and we decided to stay out. It's unfortunate. That caution killed us. We had a good lead. It's tough because we've had great results and we've been so close to victory lane this year. This hurts a little bit."
Despite McDowell's disappointment, the Phoenix, Arizona driver jumped from fifth to third in national championship points after leading the most laps and earning the SIM Factory Pole Award earlier in the day, his fifth of the season.
Seventeen-year-old James Buescher steered the Mercedes Homes-Red Line Oil Dodge to third in the final running order.
"We had a great car all day," said Buescher. "We kind of had a bad qualifying run and that disappointed me but I gained up my confidence pretty quickly in the race when we started making our way through the field. I just got to thank everyone-Mercedes Homes, the Turner Family, Tesar Engines and Country Joe Racing. This is just and awesome team to run with. I can't complain about the ARCA program at all. I've run with them three times and have gotten three top-10 finishes."
Patrick Sheltra, in the CP Concrete Products-US Construction Chevrolet, finished a solid fourth, a career-best for the Indiantown, Florida driver. Justin Allgaier, in the family-owned Allgaier Racing Chevrolet, utilized the same pit strategy as Keselowski, pitting late in the race. It paid off with a fifth place finish after leading 26 laps.
Bobby Gerhart, in his own Eagle Warranty Chevrolet, also pitted late with the others and finished sixth from the 19th starting position, earning the Hoosier Tire Hard Charger Award for advancing the most positions.
Frank Kimmel, after leading 26 laps, finished seventh in the Hantz Group-Nu South Lemonade-Pork Ford in front of Justin South, who brought the HD Supply Dodge home in eighth. Ken Butler, III was ninth in the ESR Development Team-Domino's Pizza Dodge. Josh Krug finished 10th in Wayne Hixson's Bigford Enterprises-ARCASimRacing.com Chevrolet.
Green flag side-by-side racing was abundant throughout the race as only 36 laps were run under caution.
The ARCA RE/MAX Series travels next to Kentucky Speedway for the WLWT Channel 5-150 on Friday night, July 13 LIVE on SPEED at 8:00 pm ET.
Top-10 ARCA RE/MAX Series Points After the Request Foods-GFS 200 at Berlin Raceway (7-7-07): 1) Frank Kimmel 2765; 2) Bobby Gerhart 2635; 3) Michael McDowell 2580; 4) Dexter Bean 2570; 5) Justin Allgaier 2570; 6) Phillip McGilton 2445; 7) Justin South 2335; 8) Justin Marks 2195; 9) Patrick Sheltra 2170; 10) Jason Hedlesky 2065.