KESELOWSKI CONTINUES FORWARD MOTION AT KENTUCKY SPEEDWAY WITH ANOTHER TOP-20 FINISH Brad Keselowski continued the forward motion in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series points this weekend at the Kentucky Speedway as he earned an 18th place finish...
KESELOWSKI CONTINUES FORWARD MOTION AT KENTUCKY SPEEDWAY WITH ANOTHER TOP-20 FINISH
Brad Keselowski continued the forward motion in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series points this weekend at the Kentucky Speedway as he earned an 18th place finish in Saturday's Built Ford Tough 225. While Keselowski remains in the 21st position in driver points, he was able to earn five bonus points by leading a lap as well as move within three points of the 20th position and within 15 points of the 19th position. The K Automotive team, who celebrated their 250th start in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series on Saturday, moved up to the 23rd position in the series owner points.
Keselowski qualified his Samson Stone Ford in the 27th position for the event and knew that he was going to have to get the set up right so that as the track tightened up through the evening, his truck would come around to a strong set up. As the green flag dropped on the event, Keselowski would fight a super tight truck, but moved into the 23rd position by adjusting his line on the race track. When he brought his truck to pit road for their first pit stop on lap 44 during the caution flag, his team gained one position for him on pit road along with four tires and fuel as well as making a tire pressure adjustment to ease the tight condition.
Much of the evening for Keselowski was a little too eventful from his vantage point as several of the night's seven caution flags were brought out by incidents occurring directly in front of the 21-year old. One of these incidents took place on lap 52 when five trucks got together in turn two and Keselowski was forced to slam on his brakes to avoid getting into the middle of the may lay. While the team scrambled on pit road during the nine minute red flag period to look at their truck's tires through binoculars, the decision was made to bring the truck back down pit road under caution to ensure that their tires were not going down as a result of debris on the track.
With their pit window at 60 laps for fuel, crew chief Bob Keselowski made the decision to bring the truck down pit road under on lap 84 with the hope that the event would go green for the distance and they would be able to stretch their fuel mileage with the remaining caution laps. When the green flag flew again Keselowski was able to plow through the field on his fresh tires and into the top-20. But as luck would have it just as the leaders were preparing for their pit stops near lap 104, another caution would fly allowing them to pit under yellow flag conditions.
Keselowski was able to stay out on the race track and lead for four laps collecting five bonus points. When the field lined up for the restart on lap 107, Keselowski would bring the field down for the green flag, but as the field flew into turn one Keselowski's truck quickly developed a severe rear tire bounce which forced him to follow the truck up the race track to avoid spinning into the outside wall. As Keselowski fought to control the truck, he was passed by much of the field forcing him to the 21st position with only 40 laps remaining in the race. With control regained in the race truck and the tire bounce subdued, Keselowski regained his focus and started once again to work his way back through the field.
As Keselowski moved into the 19th position on lap 134, he noticed smoke and sparks coming from his primary ignition box. He quickly switched boxes in the corner and rectified the problem. Keselowski would finish his eventful 150-laps at Kentucky with an 18th place finish.
"This was one of those crazy nights," said Keselowski. "I feel like we saw a lot of the highs and lows of racing through the course of the 150 laps. We were able to use some pit strategy that would have paid off if we could have had just a few more green flag laps that would have forced the leaders to pit under green, but we were still able to capitalize by leading some laps and getting those bonus points. I just don't know what would have caused the severe tire bounce there on the restart. I don't even call it tire hop because it was just so severe that it felt like the entire rear end of the truck was coming up off the race track. But we were able to get it back under control, and we will definitely be checking the truck over back at the shop to figure out what caused it to come and go like it did on the track."
"We did have a pretty strong showing for the team's 250th start and I am pleased that we were able to gain some points in the driver standings and able to gain a position in owner points," said Keselowski. "We keep gaining on the truck every week and sometimes it gets frustrating to look at notes from past seasons and realize how much better we are running and that we are breaking track records nearly every week, but still not getting consistent top tens. That shows just how competitive this NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series has become and means that we all have to work that much harder to earn a top finish."
The K Automotive team will enjoy their first week off in eight weeks, however they will still be busy racing as Brian Keselowski will compete in an ARCA Re/Max Series event at Berlin Raceway in Michigan and the NCTS team is planning a test session at the Indianapolis Raceway Park. The next event for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will be on July 23 at the Memphis Motorsports Park.