Daytona Duel: Brad Keselowski race report

Keselowski Leads Laps and Finishes 12th in Duel Qualifying Race Will Start 26th in the Daytona 500 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 11, 2009) -- Penske Racing driver Brad Keselowski and the No. 12 Penske Dodge team led 15 laps and finished 12th ...

Keselowski Leads Laps and Finishes 12th in Duel Qualifying Race
Will Start 26th in the Daytona 500

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 11, 2009) -- Penske Racing driver Brad Keselowski and the No. 12 Penske Dodge team led 15 laps and finished 12th in the second 150-lap Gatorade Duel qualifying race at Daytona International Speedway Thursday. As a result, the young driver, who will celebrate his 26th birthday on Friday, will lineup 26th in the 52nd running of the Daytona 500. It will mark the first Daytona 500 start of Keselowski's NASCAR Cup Series career.

"A solid start to the weekend," said Keselowski. "We are definitely getting prepared for the (Daytona) 500. Congratulations to Kurt (Busch) and Sam (Hornish Jr.) on a great run today. I think we have an idea of what we have to work on. It was nice to lead some laps and run up front. I learned a lot. The car is in one piece. We did everything we needed to do to get ready for the 500."

Penske Racing teammates Kurt Busch and Sam Hornish, Jr. finished fourth and 26th, respectively, in Thursday's second Duel race.

Keselowski started the 60-mile event from the eighth position. He quickly showed that his Dodge Charger was one of the strongest cars in the field. Aided by a strong push from Busch, Keselowski took the lead on lap 10. Despite a chassis that was a little on the loose side, Keselowski was able to lead the field for 15 laps before surrendering the top spot.

A caution flag flew over the field on lap 26 and Keselowski, running in the fourth position, prepared to bring his Dodge Charger down pit road for service. However, he went to the outside of the "commitment" cone upon entering pit road -- a violation -- and had to re-start the race from the rear of the field in 25th position.

A determined Keselowski once again received several "pushes" from a Penske Racing teammate -- this time from Hornish -- as both began to slice their way through the field. By lap 52, Keselowski was back inside the top-five. As the laps wound down, the handling began to go away on the No. 12 Dodge and he could not "draft" as effectively as he needed to produce a top-five finish.

The Penske Dodge team now begins its preparation for the Daytona 500.

-source: penske racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kurt Busch , Brad Keselowski , Sam Hornis
Teams Team Penske