Keselowski Finishes 21st in Pocono Debut LONG POND, Pa. (June 6, 2010) -- Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 12 Penske Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Cup Series, finished 21st in the Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500 on Sunday afternoon at Pocono...
Keselowski Finishes 21st in Pocono Debut
LONG POND, Pa. (June 6, 2010) -- Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 12 Penske Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Cup Series, finished 21st in the Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500 on Sunday afternoon at Pocono Raceway. A broken component in the steering system hampered Keselowski in a race that went three laps past its scheduled distance in a "green/white/checkered-flag" finish.
Sunday's race marked the first for Keselowski at the "Tricky Triangle" that is Pocono Raceway. However, he had to wait for Mother Nature before he could turn his first laps under race conditions. The race was delayed by nearly two hours for heavy rain just before the field took the green flag. The red flag was displayed and drivers were able to exit their cars while the track drying process took place.
Keselowski recorded one of his strongest qualifying efforts of the season by posting the 11th-fastest time during Friday's time trials. He toured the 2.5-mile oval in 53.476 seconds, or 168.300 miles per hour. As the race began, however, Keselowski was not happy with the handling condition of the No. 12 Dodge Charger. He radioed to crew chief Jay Guy that the car was very tight and would not turn in the center of the corners. Prior to the start of the race, NASCAR informed teams that they would throw a competition yellow flag at lap 15 to allow teams to asses tire wear on the "green" racetrack. This allowed Guy to bring Keselowski, who was running in the 26th position, down pit road for track bar and air pressure adjustments to alleviate the tight-handling condition.
When the race resumed on lap 19, Keselowski reported that the car was still handling tight. While Guy and the rest of the No. 12 crew began to formulate ideas on what could solve the problem, it became evident that another caution period would be needed to give the team enough time to assess the situation. Unfortunately, green flag racing continued for another 79 laps. During that run, the team was only able to make chassis adjustments that would help, but not fix, the handling condition. Under a green flag pit stop on lap 78, a lug nut was left loose on the left rear wheel. Keselowski was forced to return to pit road to tighten the lug nut and he lost a lap to the leaders as a result.
On lap 94, Keselowski determined that something was amiss with the steering on the Penske Dodge. Guy ordered him down pit road immediately to ensure the No. 12 Dodge Charger didn't have a flat tire. While on pit road, Keselowski lost another lap to the leaders. When the second caution flag on the day flew on lap 96, Keselowski remained on the track to receive the "wave around," which placed him only one lap down.
As the race moved past the halfway point, the handling condition on the car continued to worsen. Keselowski lost another lap to the leaders when the field came down pit road for yet another round of green flag pit stops. Keselowski was able to keep himself in position for the "Lucky Dog" free pass, which he received when the caution flag flew on lap 174. This placed him only one lap down with 26 laps remaining in the race. Keselowski, once again, put himself in the "Lucky Dog" position and when the final caution flag of the day flew on lap 199 he found himself back on the lead lap. This also ensured that the race would finish under a "green/white/checkered" flag situation.
When the race resumed on lap 202, Keselowski was running in the 32nd position. By the white flag lap, he had raced his way into 29th place. On the last lap of the race, Keselowski was able to dodge a multi-car incident on the "Long Pond" straightaway to pick up eight more positions and finish in 21st place. As the team proceeded with its post-race inspection of the car it was discovered that the center-link portion of the steering system had malfunctioned.
Keselowski is now ranked 24th in the Cup Series point standings.
"Long day at Pocono today," said Keselowski. "We got a better finish than I thought we would. The entire complexion of the race changed over the last 15-20 laps. This was my first race here and I learned a lot. Hopefully we can be faster when we come back in a few weeks."
Penske Racing teammates Kurt Busch and Sam Hornish Jr. finished in sixth and 11th place, respectively.
The No. 12 Penske Dodge team will move to Michigan International Speedway next weekend for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400.
-source: penske fich: not found