Keselowski Retires Early, Finishes 35th at Infineon Raceway SONOMA, Calif. (June 20, 2010) -- Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 12 Penske Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Cup Series, finished 35th in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 on Sunday afternoon at...
Keselowski Retires Early, Finishes 35th at Infineon Raceway
SONOMA, Calif. (June 20, 2010) -- Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 12 Penske Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Cup Series, finished 35th in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 on Sunday afternoon at Infineon Raceway. Good pit strategy by crew chief Jay Guy placed Keselowski in position to pick up a solid result, but a rash of late-race on-track incidents prevented Keselowski from finishing an event for the first time since the race at Talladega Superspeedway in April.
In Friday's qualifying session, Keselowski recorded the 36th-fastest lap as he toured the 1.99-mile, 11-turn road course in 1:17.910 seconds for an average speed of 91.952 miles per hour. Making his first career start at Infineon Raceway, Keselowski spent the early portion of the event getting comfortable with the track. As he began to figure out how to keep his momentum up throughout an entire lap, Keselowski started to turn lap times half-a-second faster than the cars immediately in front on him.
The first caution flag of the race flew on lap 10, giving Guy an opportunity to implement his pit strategy. He called Keselowski down pit road for service, which included air pressure adjustments to the Goodyear tires. The team's strategy from this point forward was to make it to the end of the race in just three more pit stops.
The race restarted on lap 13 with Keselowski running in the 32nd position. Once again, he began to run smooth, consistent laps. This showed on the stopwatch as he was routinely posting some of the fastest laps on the track. As the competitors that chose not to stop under the lap 10 caution began to make their way down pit road, Keselowski quickly found himself close to the top-10 in the running order.
Keselowski visited pit road for the second time under the green flag on lap 44. He radioed to Guy that he was very happy with the car, but he could use some help with the forward bite coming off the corners. Guy once again called for air pressure adjustments, but no changes to the chassis. Keselowski returned to the track on lap 45 and immediately began to turn some of the fastest laps of the day. From laps 47-51, the No. 12 Penske Dodge Charger was the fastest car on the track.
As the second caution flag of the day flew on lap 56, the team found itself 10 laps short of its final fuel window. Guy directed Keselowski down pit road -- with most of the lead-lap cars -- for four tires and fuel. The plan was for Keselowski to run 10 laps before coming back to pit road for fuel, which would have given him enough to make it to the checkered flag. The race restarted on lap 60 with Keselowski running in the 26th position.
On lap 63, Keselowski spun his car coming off of Turn 10. He hit the tire barrier which caused extensive damage to the left-front fender and splitter. Keselowski made three trips down pit road to allow his crew to fix the damage. With fast and solid work by the No. 12 crew, Keselowski avoided falling a lap down to the race leaders.
After a multi-car accident on lap 66, the race was red flagged for several minutes to clean up the incident. Once the race restarted, Keselowski visited pit road for the final time. When another caution flag was displayed on lap 84, Keselowski remained on track and restarted the race on lap 87 in the second position -- his highest spot in the running order for the day.
While attempting to hold off the cars that had fresher tires, Keselowski was involved in an incident in the "short chute" between Turns 4 and 7. The damage included a punctured radiator that ended his day prematurely as he finished in 35th place.
Keselowski remains 24th in the Cup Series point standings following Sunday's result.
"The biggest thing for me today was how impressed I was with our Penske Dodge," said Keselowski. "I'm so proud of my guys. For my first time racing in a Cup car at Infineon, I learned so much. Man, a lot of hard racing out there for sure. We were really fast at times and it's up to me to put a whole race together. I'm proud of the effort and the race is something that we can build on moving forward."
Penske Racing teammates Kurt Busch and Sam Hornish Jr. finished in 32nd and 36th place, respectively.
The No. 12 Penske Dodge team will move to New Hampshire Motor Speedway next weekend for the Lenox Industrial Tools 301.