Keselowski Scores Top-15 Finish at Phoenix
AVONDALE, Ariz. (February 27, 2011) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Cup Series, finished 15th in the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) on Sunday afternoon. The first-year driver of the "Blue Deuce" made the most of the "Lucky Dog" award to record the first top-15 finish of the season for the team.
Keselowski started the 312-lap race from the ninth position after posting a lap of 26.322 seconds, or 136.768 miles per hour, during Saturday's qualifying session. When the race began, Keselowski radioed to crew chief Paul Wolfe that he was happy with the balance of the setup on the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge as he was able to maintain a spot inside the top-10. As the run progressed, the car developed a tight-handling condition. Wolfe and the team began to adjust the air pressure and track bar to give Keselowski a car that he could keep at the front of the field.
On lap 67, Keselowski was able to drive his way through a multi-car incident without sustaining major damage, however, the right front fender was bent, which accentuated the tight-handling condition on the "Blue Deuce." As a result, Keselowski fell back to the 19th spot in the running order before repairs could be made during the fourth pit stop of the day on lap 128.
Despite the improved handling on the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, Keselowski lost a lap to the leaders on lap 217. However, the caution flag flew on the ensuing lap and Keselowski found himself in position to pick up his first "Lucky Dog" award of the season. Once he made up his lap, Keselowski brought the Miller Lite Dodge down pit road for the sixth time. Wolfe called for another adjustment to the track bar and air pressure. This seemed to bring the car to life on the lap 226 restart as Keselowski began posting top-10 lap times.
While methodically working his way back through the field, Keselowski radioed that the car was "as good as it's been all day." Unfortunately, just following a green-flag pit stop on lap 283, the final caution flag of the day flew over the field, once again putting Keselowski one lap down to the leaders. Hoping to receive a "wave around" once the leader of the race pitted, Keselowski looked to be in position to grab a top-10 finish. However, the leader elected to remain on the track and Keselowski had to settle for a 15th place finish, one lap down to the race winner, Jeff Gordon.
Penske Racing teammate, Kurt Busch, finished eighth Sunday in the Subway Fresh Fit 500
Following Sunday's result, Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge team sit 20th in the Cup Series driver point standings and 22nd in the owner point rankings.
"Just an average day with the Miller Lite Dodge Charger today," said Keselowski. "We want to run better than 15th place, but we finished out the day strong and that's important because we really want to build on every race. We never really did that last year in Cup and in order to make progress like we want, you have to build the foundation. We brought our Miller Lite Dodge home in one piece. We're looking to have solid and consistent days and we accomplished that today."
Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite team will move to Las Vegas Motor Speedway next Sunday, March 6, for the Kobalt Tools 400.
-source: penske racing