Keselowski Overcomes Incident to Finish 16th at Phoenix AVONDALE, Ariz. (April 10, 2010) -- Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 12 Abyss Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Cup Series, finished 16th in the Subway Fresh Fit 600 at Phoenix International ...
Keselowski Overcomes Incident to Finish 16th at Phoenix
AVONDALE, Ariz. (April 10, 2010) -- Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 12 Abyss Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Cup Series, finished 16th in the Subway Fresh Fit 600 at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday night. A mid-race brush with the outside wall cost a fast Keselowski a shot at a career-best finish, but he was still able to earn valuable points in the series point standings.
Keselowski was a victim of an early qualifying draw as he was the fourth car to post laps during Friday's time trials. The track was slick at that time and, as a result, Keselowski posted the 22nd-fastest time of the day, despite having the 16th-fastest car in final practice. He was confident that his Abyss Dodge Charger would fare better in the race.
Prior to the 2010 season, the Phoenix race was lengthened by 100 kilometers, making it a tough test of drivers and equipment. Much like the Coca-Cola 600 in May, the race began during the day, but ended under the lights. The changing conditions can pose several problems for crew chiefs as they map out their plans for when the track cools off. Keselowski and crew chief Jay Guy were confident that their race setup would put them in position to capture their first top-10 finish of the season. When the green flag waved, however, Keselowski was in a battle to gain track position as the race was interrupted by two quick cautions before lap 25.
Keselowski radioed to Guy that his car was handling tight in the center of both corners. He came down pit road for track bar and air pressure adjustments and he restarted the race from the 28th position on lap 64. Following the restart, the race entered into a long green-flag period in which Keselowski was able to show the strength of his car's setup. From lap 100 to lap 113, the No. 12 Abyss Dodge Charger was the fastest car on the track as he drove his way into the top-15 for the first time. It was evident at that point of the race that Keselowski had a car that could finish inside the top-five.
On lap 196, Keselowski made contact with the outside wall while racing with the No. 14 car of Tony Stewart and the No. 56 car of Martin Truex, Jr. The resulting body damage to the right side of the Abyss Dodge Charger was substantial and Keselowski made his way down pit road twice for repairs under the ensuing caution. He restarted the race from the 26th position.
Keselowski and the No. 12 team showed determination as they fought their way back towards the front of the field. On lap 350, Keselowski was back inside the top-20. A lap 372 caution gave him the chance to come down pit road for a quick four-tire change. On the subsequent green flag-white flag-checkered flag finish, which pushed the 600-kilometer race into overtime by three laps, Keselowski was able to maneuver his way up to 16th place.
"It was one of those never-give-up days," said Keselowski. "That's what we did all race. I'm proud of everyone for that. Four tires was the right way to go at the end of the race. I'm really surprised the winner didn't take four, but apparently enough took two that it didn't matter."
Penske Racing teammates Sam Hornish Jr. and Kurt Busch finished 18th and 35th, respectively.
Following the seventh race of the season, Keselowski is tied with Kasey Kahne for 26th in the 2010 NASCAR Cup Series driver point standings.
The No.12 Penske Dodge Charger team will move east to the Lone Star State for the Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.